Sunday, April 19, 2009

Modern Scripture...

I had to share these great rewriten bible verses:

Psalm 141:3

Set a guard, O Lord, over my keyboard;
keep watch over the door of my send button!

James 1:19
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to read, slow to reply all, slow to click send.

Proverbs 10:19
When blogging is abundant, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his keyboard is prudent.

Proverbs 12:18
There is one whose comments on blogs are like sword thrusts, but the comments of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 14:7
Don't follow the Twitter feed of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

Proverbs 12:23
A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the Twitter feed of fools proclaims folly.
Via Josh Harris

Sunday, March 22, 2009

3 Rabbis

I finished reading Scott Orson Card's Speaker for the Dead last night (actually early this morning).

It interests me how much insight some Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers have about religion.
This short piece (as a chapter introduction) is very interesting...

A great rabbi stands teaching in the marketplace. It happens that husband finds proof that morning of his wife's adultery, and a mob carries he to the marketplace to stone her to Death. (There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine, a speaker for the dead, has told me of two other rabbis that faced the same situation. These are the ones I'm going to tell you.)

The rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him the mob forbears, and waits with stones heavy in their hands. "Is there anyone here" he says to them, "who has not desired an other man's wife, and another woman's husband?"

They murmur and say, "We all know that desire. But rabbi, none of us has acted on it."

The rabbi says, "Then kneel down and give thanks to God that made you strong."
He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, "Tell the lord magistrate who saved his mistress. Then he'll know I am his loyal servant."

So the Woman Lives, because the community is too corupt to protect itself from disorder.

Another rabbi, another city. He goes to her and stops the mob, as in the other story, and says, "Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone"
The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of there own individual sins. Someday, they think, I may be like this woman, and I'll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her the way I wish to be treated.

As they open their hands and let the stones fall to the ground, the rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman's head and throws it straight down with all his might. It crushes her skull and dashes her brains on to the cobblestones..

"Nor am I without sin", he says to the people. "But if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead, and our city with it."

So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance.

The famous version of the story is noteworthy because it is so startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis, and when they veer too far, they die. Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So of course, we killed him.

- Orson Scott Card

How's that for a thought leading in to easter? Have you ever looked at some thing Jesus said or did, and thought about what the alternatives might be?
Have you thought about what you might have done? Would you have had the guts to convict the sinners, but yet forgive the sin?


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Information Diet


I watched a very interesting video last night by Ethan Zuckerman who runs a site called 'Global Voices'.
HatTip: LibraryThing

Flock of Birds
He labeled the talk 'Building a Better Gatekeeper' and explores the idea that as we get more and more of an internet culture we can find ourselves 'flocking together', or in other words surrounding ourselves with like minded people, and information.

I know this isn't really something new, people having been doing it for years, I know for myself apart from work I almost never socialize with people who aren't from Christian circles. This is largely a result of my up bringing and beliefs, I like hanging out with Christians, I know how to relate to them, they know how to relate to me. I even pride myself on the diversity of my friends given the different streams of christianity they represent.

I'm probably not going to die because I don't talk to many homosexual gothic satanists, but perhaps my lack of diversity in my relationships could (has?) lead to me misunderstanding the world around me?

Likewise as a New Zealander I often (even if only in my own head) criticize America for it's inward focus yet how much to I know about Kenya or Uzbekistan (Does such a place actually exist?)

How often do we find that exactly what frustrates us in others is actually present in ourselves?

Chick Flicks

I remember watching Bride and Prejudice a while a go (Yes ladies I do watch chick flicks), I remember it because for the first time I understood Darcy's point of view from the original story. For those that don't know in the original story, Mr Darcy advises his friend Bingley not to marry a girl he has met in the country. He and She are of different classes, different cultures, different lives Marrying her would be a disaster. (not in those words but I think that's the general idea)

Naturally, As a modern westerner of the 21st century I thought 'What a biggot'!

However when I saw (in Bride and Prejudice) a young american man fall in love with a girl from india I thought all those same things. I could just see myself telling my friend "What do you think you are doing? Your culture is different, your religion is different, your family is different. Marrying this girl will not work!

Same story different place, but it brings it more alive to me...

Echo Chambers

I think that same kind of reaction was caused when I watch Ethan's talk, I was convicted of my own tenancy to return to the familar, to surround myself with an echo chamber, people and information that reinforces rather than challenges my thinking, my belief, my interests.

If you are anything like me, you will vaguely remember the first time you drank coffee, I don't remember where I was or why I tasted it BUT it tasted horrible.
Now I love little better than a good cup of espresso, what's changed? The coffee? No, it's me. What was once disgusting has become a treat.
Coffee may not be a good example given its addictive nature, and less that positive side effects but the idea stands:) Just like learning to eat vegetables when you were young. They can go from a chore to a joy.*

A Balanced Diet

Ethan talks about the Broccoli vs Chocolate Cake problem. Even people who really like broccoli would probably prefer a nice piece cake over a head of broccoli. We do the same kinds of things with our information needs, we read the 'chocolate cake' blogs, news stories, and friendships. Now there's nothing wrong with chocolate cake, but if we just eat cake we would probably find we are lacking a balanced diet.

Is it the same for our information/interests/relationships? Do we need to work on developing a more balanced diet? If we do make the effort, perhaps we'll find that we really enjoy the new things we learn and new ideas we encounter? Even if it takes a little while prehaps we can add a whole new joy to our lives? Too optimistic? I don't know.

Regardless what I have said, I strongly suggest you head over to and have a listen. Perhaps you'll be convicted too.

* However, I am still trying to learn to enjoy raw tomato at age 24.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sermon Quotes

Well, since it'd been such a very long time since I posted to my blog, I thought I'd better do something.

Went to Gateway Church in Hamilton this morning. The pastor (Don Barry) spoke about the tension between calvininsm and arminianism and why it is important for us to grapple with the paradox these theological positions create. Rather than discuss that debate, especially since I'm still rather struggling with it myself. I thought I'd share a couple of quotable Quotes from the message.

Idea's have consequences.
        - Don Barry

It's God's will that man chooses.
       - Jack Hayford

Pentecostalism is often guilty of having the fire without the fireplace.
       - Don Barry

If you don't like mystery, you probably won't enjoy the christan life.
        - G K Chesterton

There's theology everywhere.
        - Don Barry