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Archive for July, 2010

Should conservatives sound their trumpets?

Posted by Chance on July 30, 2010

One of the annoying things in political debates is when conservatives/libertarians are accused of not caring about the poor.  Whether or not their policies are helpful toward the poor can be a valid debate, but I don’t feel the evidence is there to support the charge of “not caring.”

Unfortunately, this puts the low-tax/free market sort in a bad position.  Do we answer this charge?  Could doing so make our opinions seem more valid.  In Matthew 6 Jesus talked about not doing your good deeds to be seen by other people.  This would seem to discourage bragging about giving, even if it is in a collective sense.  Also, it can be counter-productive; instead of talking about ideas, conservatives and liberals are in a contest to see who gives more.

When it comes to economic policies on the whole, I don’t know if private giving matters to liberals.  They believe the best way ( or even if not “best”, at least necessary) to help people is through governmental means.  Also, I’ve found that if people want to believe that conservatives are generally mean people and don’t care about others, they will continue to believe so no matter the evidence to the contrary.

When it comes to the pro-life issue, however, I believe highlighting efforts apart from the governmental arena is important.  I think it is important for pro-lifers to show that they truly care about both woman and child.  Why Planned Parenthood is a shining example of taking care of the least of these and Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not “playing fair” is beyond me.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to motivation.  We hate being depicted as mean, so we offer evidence that shows otherwise.  I don’t think this is a good reason; I don’t believe in image maintenance.  However, as in the pro-life issue, showing care for others in a visible way may be very important.

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Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Types of people that annoy me

Posted by Chance on July 30, 2010

In blogging, I run across different types of people.  It has been enlightening meeting different types of people with different ideas.  Typically, people who have different opinions don’t annoy me too much, but certain characteristics I see.  Today, I’m going to focus on my “own people” if you will.

The Republican homer. The term “homer” is borrowed from sports fandom, in which someone believes their sports team can do no wrong.  These people will take to task the Democrats for out-of-control spending and running up the national debt.  However, when someone brings up the Republicans, they will talk about how that was different, or how it wasn’t as bad, etc…   While sometimes nuances are important, they will find everything they can about why it was “different” when Bush was in office.

Why does this bother me?  For one, someone debating ideas wastes a lot of valuable time simply defending their team.  If they talked more about their ideas and less about their party, they would be so much more effective.  Also, any idea or belief is less effective if you do not apply it consistently.  If you hate big spending, don’t be afraid to mention that Bush spent too much.  I’m not saying that someone has to say something bad their own party every time they talk about the other one, but if someone brings your own party to task for the same things you are talking about, don’t be afraid to agree with them.  The goal is ideas, not defending your team.

For the second type of person…  In an episode of the Simpsons, Marge is trying to get into this exclusive women’s club.  Her initiation is almost at hand when she has to take her family to dinner.   Before the dinner she’s telling her family basically not to do this or that to embarrass her, such as asking Lisa not to talk politics with anyone.

The apologist apologizer (apologist is someone in apologetics)is what reminds me of Marge in this episode.  The apologizer is someone who is mostly conservative or at least leans to the right, but has a lot of liberal followers.  This person is always apologizing to his or her liberal friends for the conservative ones.  They feel that they always have to pipe in, in the event that a conservative says something to harsh.  The good thing is that they are always trying to build bridges with their liberal friends, but at the same time, it is as if they reluctantly bring their conservative friends to the dinner party, and they are always afraid of what the conservative is going to say to ruffle the feathers of the liberal ones.   I don’t enjoy going to this type of blog any longer.

Posted in Culture, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Agile Programming and Spirituality

Posted by Chance on July 20, 2010

Note: For those who don’t program but are interested in spiritual matters, you may want to read on despite the boring first paragraph.

I don’t exactly have my pulse on cutting edge thought in programming, but one of the leading philosophies is that of Agile.  One of the big ideas of Agile is that there is minimal planning and design up front.  Instead of having a huge requirements phase, design phase, implementation, and testing, like the waterfall model, these phases are smaller and done many times.  That is, the requirements and design do not involve the entire project but the work done the next two weeks, and the same goes for implementation and testing.  The process repeats again after two weeks.  The idea is that programmers and managers are more adaptable to change as the project is centered around short iterations instead of a year worth of planning. (I’m probably butchering the explanation of Agile – see Wikipedia link)

When being exposed to a philosophy, even if it involves something that doesn’t answer life’s biggest questions, I always like to compare it to the Bible.  Is there anything true in the spiritual realm that would actually validate Agile Programming?

Some verses suggest that it does.  The Bible seems to illustrate the idea of not planning too far ahead.  Jesus does say not to worry about tomorrow; I don’t think this means to totally disregard tomorrow, but I do think it says something about focus – be concerned about things you can actually do today.   The book of James says:

13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

There are several applications for this passage, but again, I think the idea is not to look too far ahead, simply because we don’t know what will happen. I don’t think that means we can’t think about it at all and sometimes we don’t have a choice in long term plans. But I think the important thing is that we recognize things can change.
Sometimes in the Bible God would give someone the big picture, such as when He told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. However, it seemed that God still guided him step by step and it wasn’t clear how Abraham would get to where he was supposed to be.

Perhaps the difference between our lives and a project is that in our lives, there is a master planner that directs our life, so I don’t know if the analogy can be taken too far. However, I think both are similar in that we take it a little bit at a time.

Posted in Christianity, Technology | 2 Comments »

Thoughts on retirement

Posted by Chance on July 17, 2010

The prevailing attitude in the work world today is to count down the days to retirement when one can live a life of leisure and play golf every day. Here’s the thing though; I actually like working, and I think I would get bored if I didn’t work.

Also, I think the whole method of saving up all my income for the last 20 or 30 years of my life just sounds very stressful. I would rather live most of my life striking a balance between stress and boredom, rather than going through a period of stress followed by a period of boredom.

I don’t know if I will necessarily work full-time until I’m eighty, but I think I will work in some capacity as long as I am able. I still plan to save up for retirement, for one, I get free money through my company matching some of my 401K contributions, and, I want to save up in the event that me being unable to work comes sooner rather than later.

I’m not saying everyone has to do what I do, but I do think it is good that people stay active one way or the other, whether it be work of some sort, home projects, volunteer work, etc. I think the main purpose is avoiding idleness.

Note: I do realize I have a cushy job compared to some people, so I don’t blame people for looking forward to retirement. I think the last paragraph addresses those issues however.

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Living in Colorado

Posted by Chance on July 16, 2010

After growing up in Oklahoma for a little over twenty years and living in Texas a short time, my wife and I moved to Colorado and have lived there for over five years. I honestly don’t know if there is any other place I’d rather live.

Probably my favorite thing about Colorado is the weather. While most people think of Colorado as being extremely cold, the winters, as well as the summers, are not that extreme. The lack of humidity makes the winters feel less cold and the summers feel less hot. Sure, there is the occasional blizzard, but I try not to drive in those.

What is so great about this weather is that, during the summer, I can play in the backyard with my kids at seven o’clock in the evening without being drenched in sweat.

Another thing is the scenery. Being able to see the mountains from the office building in which I work will never get old.

Because of the scenery and the weather, many people here are into the outdoors and fitness. I tend to be a little more of an indoors type person, and I’ve never been a huge runner, hiker, or biker. Because of this, sometimes I feel it is a little harder for me to fit in. At times I do feel a little out of place when others talk about all their activities, though others have never done anything to make me feel that way.

The hardest part about living in Colorado has nothing to do with the state itself, but living so far from a lot of family. Most of the family has been supportive and understanding of us living so far away. It is hard though only seeing family every so often. Despite this, we feel that we are in the right place.

Posted in Living | 1 Comment »