Monday, May 31, 2010

Disconnected Again

Last Friday, Kent sent me an e-mail of a possible link suggestion for Collideoscope. I didn't get it until today. I had been happily out of town dogsitting for a friend. The reason for my glee was there was no access to the internet. No people. No internet. And it was incredible.  I finished Moby Dick which has been dragging along for over a month now. And I had three separate naps in a two day period just because I was overly comfortable watching some baseball games on TV. And the coolest part was there was so much time! I did what I wanted and more and still had more time than necessary. There were even faint hints of boredom in the back of my mind which has become an entirely alien feeling with the onset of my internet addiction.

And the strange thing about all this is the link Kent sent me is a post about how the Washington Post asked a series of writers to go without internet for one week. And quick 250-500 columns of the writers' reflections about their time without the internet. I assure you each of the columns is very thought provoking, although you will probably need to register (which literally took me 45 seconds) to see all of the columns. I highly recommend checking out Christian Davenport's and Michael Rosenwald's columns in particular.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nike Does It Again

Soccer (or football) is only slightly more interesting to me than watching golf, but Nike always knows how to catch the essence of a moment (the World Cup is beginning) and inspire. (It's my understanding this video is only on the web and was the quickest to hit 10m views.) Here's why:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let this Goodbye be a Hello

Does the name Alvin Plantinga ring a bell? Probably not (though I am sure not for all of you). Plantinga is basically the world's foremost Christian philosopher. And he's retiring.

Plantinga has basically spent a majority of his philosophical career making Christianity a plausible philosophical position, and has done so by basically tearing down the arrogance of secular philosophy in the process.

Plantinga's wikipedia has some brief highlights of some of his most famous arguments  including one that is dear to my heart, "Reformed Epistemology."

Why don't we know more about Plantinga? Well it's kind of sad really. Everyone knows Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens because of their charismatic personalities that have a bit of wit with their arguments. But Plantinga is not nearly the force as Dawkins and Hitchens, and thus much of his arguing really truly comes by reason and not by force of emotion.

Several atheist philosophers have noticed that while Dawkins and Hitchens are quite popular, their arguments are not anywhere sustainable compared to much of Plantinga's arguments. Further, we must note the "new atheists" as they are called are "winning" their arguments by attacking popular Christianity. They refuse to touch or acknowledge the Christian philosophers and theologians such as Plantinga or William Lane Craig who openly wrestle with the material that the "new atheists" present.

If you get a chance, you should check out Plantinga's debate with Dennett on youtube. It's quite fascinating if you have the time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today's Quote

"Things that bring you joy tell you a lot about who you are."

Michael Perry, Population: 485

From The Daily Asterisk, but well worth repeating.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The it a savior?

So last night I got home really late, like 3 AM late from a master youth rally. I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. But as I checked my email and logged onto facebook out of habit just before bed, my friend directed me to a web forum.

And on this forum was a roughly 35 page conversation about one user on the forum trying to appeal for help to all the other users for advice and guidance on how to stop two Russian friends from possibly becoming victims of Human trafficking in New York City.

And this is where the story kicks off. What we find in the rest of the forum we enter a kind of movie of sorts complete with heartpounding intensity as the users offer their help and contact numbers to try to stop these girls from going to the specified destination wherein they would ultimately be forced into human trafficking. I really can't do it justice but let's say the story kept me up a whole hour extra last night and I don't regret it. I am usually emotionless, but this thing brought goosebumps.

And it really was the beginning of something special in my mind. For the first time that I have observed, the internet brought humans together to solve a serious crisis. And a crisis that could have never been resolved without the help of the internet users (one of the users picked up the girls from a train station in New York City to convince them not to go to their destination)...

Anyways, read about it more here (and I am sure you will hear much more about it once next week starts rolling around).

I would include the actual forum that all of this happened at, but I do not know if I have such a liberty considering there are the expected curse words thrown about throughout the discussion. If you do want to read it and promise not to get offended at such swearing, feel free to email me:

Literally it will be the best read you come across all week.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pentecostal Introverts: One Man's Thoughts

Author Adam S. McHugh contacted us on our previous posts about introverts in the Pentecostal church to flag us on an interview he conducted with a friend/Pentecostal. Among the many tidbits:

Adam: What is the hardest part of being an introverted Pentecostal, especially a Pentecostal pastor?

John: I think that one of the more difficult things is dealing with people’s expectations that you should be an extrovert. This is particularly true with reference to expressions of worship. Pentecostals have sometimes criticized more traditional churches because of the formality of their services “Let us all stand, let us all kneel,” etc. The truth is that for all our talk of spontaneity and being open to the Spirit we, at times, have our own liturgy, “Everyone raise your hands, everyone shout Hallelujah.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The internet...Is it evil?

The late Douglas Adams, the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and famed social commentator/skeptic, has quite some interesting bits if you ever come across them...

At today's link, you get an essay from Adams about the internet all the way back in 1999...and somehow it's eerily quite relevant today....

Let me quote the best part of the essay

"Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can’t easily answer back – like newspapers, television or granite. Hence ‘carved in stone.’ What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the internet on trust – of course you can’t, it’s just people talking – but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV – a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’."

So all that fear of the internet not being trustworthy....maybe next time you hear about it, ask them why they trust what they do trust for truth.....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ballestero Concert

Former Notes blogger Courtney Ballestero's new CD is out. She's been getting some media coverage and now she's got a big new concert coming up.

If you're in the area, don't miss it!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Need a job?

Watch this one minute video to see how one clever New Yorker got a job from a top New York business. In short, he paid 6 dollars to have his name pop up at the top of the google search screen of 5 top business executives knowing that they would google themselves. It was there he asked for a job.

See a little more description here:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Facebook: Newest Candidate for Big Brother/Anti-Christ

There has been some creepy stuff about Google doing it's best imitation of how to scare you and know everything you are doing on this blog before.

Well todays links pose a new candidate for "Completely creepy website that is now all up in your biz and you don't even realize it until they take your children."

It's of course facebook....

See here for an easy to read chart by chart comparison of the degradation of default facebook privacy settings over the years.

Then click here to see how complicated it can be try to change some of those privacy settings in your profile as there are countless options that seemingly want to intimidate you right out of wanting to change your privacy settings at all.

For goodness sake, facebook now has a longer privacy policy (5,830 words) than the constitution (4,543 words). And let's be honest, we all know that they made it so long so that we will all be too intimidated to read it and in this policy we will probably find out that facebook will soon be installing cameras in our houses as a default facebook setting...

Excuse me I am going to go hide in my room until facebook decides it wants to go all Elian Gonzalez on me

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Infographics (Yes, you know what they are.)

You know those USA Today graphics on the front page of every section? What if someone did it for This American Life? What if we could offer appealing Christian stats in appealing formats like this?

FC: Why do you think our culture is so obsessed with infographics?

Fox: I think that a lot of people (like me) gravitate to visual things rather than a couple of paragraphs of text. If I can take some information that when written takes a couple of paragraphs to explain, and make a visualization of that, I am cutting out some serious time between the person becoming interested in the topic "ah, this information appeals to me" and their understanding of the topic "ah, I get it, I could explain this to my friend." I think that visualizing the information can make understanding the data a lot more gratifying to the reader.

I think that infographics are entering journalism much as photography entered it. At first a novelty, adopted by the forward-thinkers and appreciators of art and beautiful things. But then accepted as a necessity, another way for the reader to experience the information. A new perspective of truth on a subject. I think that infographics are an easy compliment to journalism right now. Written text, in my opinion, is not the most conducive way to explain a series of complicated statistics and numbers.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Answers to the New Atheists

A new book by Marilynne Robinson is always a reason to rejoice! Basically, everything she's written has been nominated or won a major prize (the Pulitzer for Fiction, to name but one).

Unapologetically Christian, now she replies to the new atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens and the like) via a series of (video) lectures at Yale, that have become Absence of Mind.

To get a quick intro, watch this video.

Here's an excerpt:

"But Robinson is very critical of the work of the so-called new atheists.

ROBINSON: I think this sort of avalanche of literature we have gotten lately is very second-rate. It simply is not well informed and not well considered. I mean I consider it to be kind of noise."

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Uh Oh-Jesus gets his own sitcom?

Link to AP article here

The short of it: Comedy central has 23 shows in development right now. One of them is a sitcom about Jesus Christ moving to New York City to "escape his Father's tremendous shadow." The Father, is also characterized as lazy, apathetic and a lover of video games.

Prepare for waves of controversy.

Also prepare for further cultural misunderstanding of the Godhead completely separating any concept of oneness as Jesus and Father are portrayed as two completely separate beings.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

College Scholarship for Home Schoolers!


Home schooled?

High School Graduate and off to College this fall?

Apply for a Scholarship here!

Yep, to our knowledge it's the very first Pentecostal-funded college scholarship for home schoolers!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Christian street Evangelist gets in trouble....

This week's link takes us to one of the most horrifying stories I have heard in recent memory. Perhaps you have already heard about it....

Essentially a dude preaching in the streets in england was arrested by a police offer because he said homosexuality was a sin which offended a homosexual. This is all allowed because there is a law about not being allowed to offend people in england.

I am a strong advocate for separation of church and state. And this is one of the reasons. The government, acting in the name of "offense" opposed a particular religious belief. Freedom of Speech in essence gives way to how offended one gets.

This probably won't be the last we hear of this case (I assume that if the man is found guilty in court, there would be many implications of it).

While I do not like the idea of a Christian government (for much bad has been done by religious governments, I equally abhor the secular spirit that allows and promotes any religious belief that is not Christian).

Let's talk this one out...