Thursday, September 28, 2006

Web2.0 blabidyblah
I've been trying to think of a description for a company that does the following:
-- manufactures books
-- sells said books only using the internet (e.g. not through a book distributor)
-- provides content of said books online, perhaps for free, perhaps for sale, perhaps some combination thereof
-- provides other digital content related to said books content, like CDs, DVDs, Video, both physical and downloadable
-- perhaps provides forum space for the discussion of said content

Is this a publisher? Maybe, but that doesn't seem to me to connote the production of CDs/DVDs/Other Digital items.

Is this a production company? Maybe, but that doesn't seem to capture the text/book manufacturing aspect.

Is this a Digital Content Company/Group? Perhaps, but that doesn't quite get at the physical thing manufacturing/distribution part of it.

Just a "Content" group/house? Ok, maybe. But, that seems better only because it's so vague.

Is this a Media Company? Or a Media Production Company? Maybe, but "media" can connote "News" as well and that seems confusing.

Any thoughts? Do you like one of these above? Does something else come to mind?
WorldMag Plums. World Magazine posts articles from its past issues when it publishes a new hard copy issue. That is a very nice thing, and, as I am usually an issue or two behind reading the hard copy, when I do get into the magazine, I can instantly link to articles that may be of interest to the K&K community. I am reading the September 23 issue now.

Mary would be especially interested in "Low Fidelity", because the article discusses the International AIDS Conference in Toronto that was held in August, and it touches on the much derided (at the conference) ABC anti-AIDS education efforts in Africa, and specifically mentions the efforts in Kenya and Uganda.

Parents of little boys (and girls) would find Janie B. Cheaney's column "The Vanishing Schoolboy" interesting.

Those of us recently returned from a two year journey with Job (and anyone who has ever lost a child or sibling to an untimely death) would find Marvin Olasky's column, Corruption and Providence, especially compelling.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Seminars I'd Like To Attend

David Allen's
GTD Roadmap

Edward Tufte's
Presenting Data and Information

SketchUp's 3-D Sketch Software
Pro Training

Blackwater's
Pistol Training
Shotgun Training

Pavel Tsatsouline's
Russian Kettlebell Challenge

Steve Cotter's
Full KOntact Kettlebells

I'm sure that I'll have much more interesting posts if I attend these. Send me to these and we all win!
The Last Pics for Now




The room with the large window is the study or office. The room with the fireplace is the living room. The picture of the kitchen was taken from in front of the fireplace. You can see space for a breakfast table to the right of the kitchen, and the glass door that opens leads out onto the back patio. That's all for now, folks. Enjoy!
More House Pics



I felt it important to include a photo of their garage because it is so HUGE!!!! Macon gets giddy everytime we visit and walk in through the garage door. He really wants to help Walter build a loft or something to take advantage of the high ceilings. The picture with the arches is a pic of the dining room and the other picture is but one view of the kitchen. The dining room picture was taken from the entry way of the house and if you look all the way through you can see a man working in the living room at the end of the hall.
Saw the first episode of "Heroes" last night. Don't think so.
Walter's and Morgan's House



I will have to do at least a few posts in order to get up all the pictures I have to share. Sorry, but my attempts to have them all load in one post have not worked.

Anyways, I had the privilege of having lunch with Morgan today and we went by to see her and Walter's house.

The second photo is a pic of the back patio.
Carjackers Alert. (Not a Joke)

The following was forwarded to me by the Miami Springs Police Department.
You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You start the engine and shift into reverse, and when you look into the rear view mirror to back out of your parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle of the rear window. So, you shift into park, unlock your doors and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of your car, that is when the car jackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down as they speed off in your car. And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car, and if they see your home address and have your keys, your home is now compromised!

BEWARE OF THIS NEW SCHEME THAT IS NOW BEING USED.

If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just drive away. Remove the paper later and be thankful that you read this e-mail.

Hope you will forward this to friends and family, especially to women. A purse contains all kinds of personal information and identification documents, and you certainly do NOT want this to fall into the wrong hands.

Please keep this going.
Thank you.
Lieutenant Tony Bartolome
Bureau of Investigations
Florida Highway Patrol
P.O. Box 593527
Orlando, FL 32859
Stikipad. Earlier I posted about our interest in some sort of knowledge base for the firm. There were some encouraging comments about the concept, but no ringing endorsements of particular software applications.

My friend Rick from our Friday breakfast group sent me a link to Stikipad. My initial reaction is WOW! We need to plumb the security issues, but, Yes!, that's exactly it.

I am wondering whether there is something like that we can install on an intranet rather than the internet. But if we are careful about identifying client data, maybe we can risk the internet.

There is a sort of urgency about this, because we just made an offer to a newly minted lawyer to join us as an associate. If she accepts, this is the first time we will have brought in a lawyer who has no significant prior legal experience. We will all be mentors to her (if she accepts the offer). That's the "old fashioned" way of developing a good lawyer, but less and less used these days. Having a knowledge base to which she could refer would be a big help.

The suggestion box is still open!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good Habits
That's really The Secret (TM). I'm more and more a fan of Getting Things Done (GTD), but at the end of the day, the success & brilliance of GTD is it's ability to enable one to create good habits.

Good Habit #1: Regularly & thoroughtly look at everything over which you have any responsibility.
Good Habit #2: Consistently work on something in that group.

Please take my word for it, GTD makes it so much easier to develop those habits. But it does not magically give you those good habits, nor does it make them any less habits. Which means that, like any good habit, they are vulnerable to the slack off syndrome, as well as to falling out of, well, "habit" status.

You don't need GTD if you already have both Good Habits down. If you have both of those Good Habits running, then chances are you've figured out your own system for how you're going to look at everything regularly and then consistently work on something in that list. Awesome for you! For the rest of us, GTD helps a bunch. (And, frankly, I suspect your system will probably look remarkably like GTD, and vice versa.)

Fundamentally, most things come down to Good Habits, darn it. Spending time with the Lord & with Family, being patient, thinking well, speaking well, writing well, blogging well, shooting well, eating well, staying in shape: all have to do with Good Habits.

And, by the way, [insert Nun clothing joke here]!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fun Evenings

A few weeks ago I had a great night running my first 5K in Austin. Not that I'd been running very much, but a colleague and I decided to up and run in the Moonlight Margaritia Madness 5K. I couldn't hang with him the whole way, but did run a Personal Best.



Of course, I hadn't run at all since then. Until this evening, when Aidan and I decided that we ought to spend some quantity time together.



Update: Sort of cross-posted (this time, with more smack talk!) at the Mr. Davidson Competition Blog.
Schism at RVA!!. I suppose it was inevitable that the honeymoon would end with Mary and RVA and that the significant fissures in that faith community would become apparent. But so soon? Not only has a significant controversy become apparent, but Mary, not one to defer her decision on important matters, has already cast her lot with one of the warring camps.

Ever Mary's supporter, I supply the following ammunition:



And this article from PM.
The Amateur Radio Society of Kenya. I am thinking of taking a small ham radio station over to Kenya, when we visit Mary at the end of November. Kenya has its own amateur radio organization, the Amateur Radio Society of Kenya. One part of its website deals with licensing of visitors. We will be there such a short time that I am hoping that, possibly with Mary's help, I can get the license issued before I arrive.

Another issue is deciding what equipment to take and determining how to transport it. This might be a good rig to take.

Maybe RVA has a junior high science teacher that would like to start a radio club with the students. I would like to meet him/her if it does.

The US has a very large and venerable amateur radio association, the American Radio Relay League, also known as the ARRL. I'm going to seek the help of some of its people in planning the trip.

Friday, September 22, 2006

23 months

Gulag
I'm still working through The Gulag Archepelago by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. Actually, I'm only at page 150. I think there are ~900 pages total?

It is, at the same time, both compelling and repellant.

It's compelling to read what the Soviets did, how people did/didn't respond and what they did to survive.

But it's also extremely stomach-churning to read. And I put it aside for long periods of time but am not able to keep away from it.

A couple of (kind of trivial, in light of the subject matter) thoughts about it so far:
-- the whole Guantanimo is Gulag thing is absolutely dumb and incorrect. I suspected as much, but wasn't sure, having never read any thing in it.
-- The most oft quoted Solzhenitsyn line about, "The line between good and evil runs through the heart of every human being," is most oft misquoted. Almost every time I read it the user is trying to justify moral equivalence, Solzhenitsyn writes it to say that there is absolutely good and evil, and the struggle is to choose good.
-- Everyone should read it, especially critics of Classical Liberal Democracy & the Free Market System.

But I'm only 1/6th of the way through it. I might change my mind three or four times between now and then.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chavez and the UN. I like the nuance of this article.
Into Galatians. Austin and I have switched roles and started a men's group at our church on Wednesday nights. He is the jefe of our Friday morning breakfasts, which continue, and I am the chief kibitzer. I am jefe on Wednesday night, and he is the chief kibitzer. (One day we'll take the show on the road.)

I consulted Macon on this venture, and my main question was "Why should I do this", other than the fact that I had been bemoaning the lack of testasterone active in our little church and that Van said to me, in his friendly, understated way, something like "Put up or shut up". That's not what he literally said, but I could see it in his eyes. Macon supported the idea, and gave me some good reasons for pursuing the venture. He suggested we do Galatians, a chapter a week for six weeks, and then at the end of the term evaluate whether to go forward. Our group had a sort of get acquainted meeting last week, and then we dove into Galatians last night.

I like Austin's approach to Bible study. It is an inductive approach, but it is quite informal and consists mainly in challenging questions like, "Well, what do you think?" after reading the scripture passage in question. So that's pretty much what we did last night, after having an ice-breaker question that I thought suitably manly: "Describe your closest encounter with a wild animal". The guys took that question pretty seriously and so I discarded the idea of describing my first blind date as a college freshman. There was a lot of talk of bears in North Carolina, and then we turned, naturally, to consider the first chapter of Galatians. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Two new ways to get demotivated
over at Despair, Inc. I thought you'd like to know.
What down dayah?!! What down dayah?!! As my MetroRail train glided into Government Center Station and I prepared to exit, I heard a little boy saying "What down dayah?!! What down dayah?!!". I looked up and saw a five year old standing on a seat by the window, looking out and down, with his eyes wide open and trying to get the attention of his mom, who was looking the other way and ignoring him. There was such a look of wonder on the little boy's face, I just wanted to go over and start to explain to him what he was seeing, to ask him what he thought about it, and maybe to see a little light go on. That desire competed with another, less worthy desire, to go over and shake his mom.

The world will go forward or backward, depending on whether moms and dads respond to the questions of their little ones. When a child is little, a parent has the opportunity to become a sort of expert and guide to his child. If a parent keeps that up, listening for and responding to questions from his little one, then as the child grows older he will develop the habit of bringing his questions to his parent. When our children had questions, we tried to give them not only answers to their specific questions, but also information beyond the limits of those questions, to related matters, to far more than the child thought he or she was asking for. And if our answers went beyond the child's present capability to understand, that was just fine. (Besides, who really knows the limits of a child's "present capability"?) Finally, the child will just love the attention, and the habits of the child asking and the parent responding will persist, however banged around, even through the child's adolescence.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Be polite and courteous, but have a plan to KILL everybody you meet". Speaking of rejecting passivity, there's this. (I think ol' Jim's website could use some work, but he does get his point across.)
"A Man . . . Rejects Passivity" This is one of the four characteristics of manhood that was part of the teaching that Austin enjoyed during his recent father/son expedition out West. In this week's World magazine, I note an ad by BethanyHouse for several books, among them one with a catchy title, Married But Not Engaged. The blurb in the ad made me think of the problem of male passivity that Austin's seminar addressed. The blurb is as follows:

One couple [the authors] explains the forces that make husbands passive and offers advice for wives on how to handle issues of anger, respect, and resentment toward this passivity. They also show practical ways to nurture intimacy.

What are "the forces that make husbands passive"? A life with no vision in it. Feeling stuck in a routine. Insufficient exercise of body and intellect. A sense of powerlessness. A wife that is angry, dispectful and resentful because of one's passivity (a vicious, vicious cycle). What are your candidates? Your solutions?
"They may not be allowed to dance here, but they sure can skin a monkey." So says Mary about RVA students in her latest post.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Jack - Officer of the Quarter.


Friday, Carol and I attended a luncheon presented by the City of Pinecrest that honored our friend, Jack Dewhurst, who joined the police department there about 18 months ago. Jack is 59 years old, and police work is a third career for him, but is something he has always wanted to do. Getting such an honor after only 18 months is very unusual.

Among other things during his brief tenure, he assisted in the apprehension of a car thief who had led several police departments in a chase that began in Broward County and ended in Dade County when the thief was forced off the road by pursuing police cars. The thief had been shooting at policeman along the way, but through God's grace had not hit any of them. Despite knowing that, Jack, who was at an intersection towards which the thief was driving at a high speed, was the first officer to approach the thief's car, which had plowed into a telephone pole. As several officers attempted to get the thief out of the car, not knowing whether he still had his gun and preparing to shoot the thief, Jack "tazed" the subject and brought the struggle to a halt. It turned out that the force of the impact that sent the thief's car into the telephone pole had knocked the gun out of his hand, onto the street. But no one knew that at the time.

There are numerous other remarkable circumstances in which Jack has been involved during this new career, and he has demonstrated remarkable maturity and good judgment in all of them.
Monday Thoughts.
Why do people walk up to you in downtown Miami, ask you directions, and then proceed to argue with you about your directions?

Sanibel Island, a beautiful place on the West Coast of Florida, in September is easily 5 to 10 degrees warmer and more uncomfortable than Miami. Hardly anyone was on the island this weekend but Carol and me. That part I really liked.

I have been thinking of a season long football fast. I am sure that I will get little extra grace in light of how the Dolphins and the 'Canes have started, other than the grace of having the extra time and of having a heart that will surely be lighter. I think that's enough reason to do it.

Why aren't young people committing to marriage more frequently? For young men, is it the availability of casual sex (virtual as well as real) and jobs that grind them down? Do they believe themselves well able to keep a certain distance from the others who would otherwise become very significant in their lives. Once upon a time, people did not marry because they felt they could not afford to get married, and waited until they thought they could. That's not the way it is now. There seems to be plenty of money, if young people knew how to manage it. Money now fuels an ethic of singleness and detachment, not character and family formation. Go Baal!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

These Amazing Times

While I'm on the subject, Bob Dylan's new album, Modern Times is so good. It may be the greatest of albums.

That Bob Dylan has all the chops of Bach.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Way I See It

What with all this spinach trouble, we've only seen the tip of the iceberg lettuce demand.
Regret and the power of words

Don't misunderstand me when I say that I saw the best concert of my life last night.

I know that I'm prone to bandy about with superlatives, but I'm ready to forget all that, so follow my lead. Should you find yourself unable to put any of my prior statements behind you, I apologize and regret putting you in this position.

Sufjan Stevens played at The Paramount in Austin, and I saw it from the front row (mezannine) (The mezannine was about 25 feet above the first floor, about 25 feet from the stage, and we were right in the middle with no one in front of us but the band). There were about 15 or 16 people in his band on stage - the string section was about 7 or 8 people, the horn section was 3 or 4, there was a drummer, a guitar or two, etc.

I really need to find a review to link to, because I don't have the patience to write one myself. If you've heard the fullness of the sound on his recent albums, it sounds even better and more full live.

For all my superlatives, I've never thrown this one out, but Sufjan Stevens has all the chops of Bach.

easy, dad...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wiki-Building a Firm Knowledge Base. A WSJ article this week, entitled "Offices Co-Opt Consumer Web Tools Like 'Wikis" and Social Networking", set me to thinking about buidling a firm knowledge base using a wiki format. I have spoken to my friend, Rick Tuttle, one of my Friday morning Bible study brothers, about working something up. Rick has a web-design company and is also a pillar at the Miami Beach Calvary Chapel. Anybody else working on or thinking about such a project?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

You know it's classy if it's in black and white





DIY headshots. What do you think?
Failing to Get the Facts. This blog is so much fun. Big Boy Rooms, Weapons of Mass Destruction, cross dialogs going on in the comments, dialogs going on blog-to-blog - amazing.

I have to say more about "fact-finding", a search that I suppose the post-modern mind would say is a waste of time (not that I am an expert on the post-modern mind). But fact-finding is almost everything in life. ("Do you love me, today? Now? I need to know.") Our daily lives seem calculated to prevent us from finding the facts, because they are so busy and hurried. ("She just smiled at you. Did you notice?") We really must slow down the pace, not because the pace itself wears us out, but so that we can observe carefully what is happening. If there are too many issues for which we have assumed responsibility, then we have no time to do the fact-finding to resolve those issues reasonably. That is why David Allen is so appealing. His process helps us see that there are too many things going on in our lives for us to plan and execute in the right way. That is what I get from Getting Things Done - not the techniques so much as the undeniable inference that we are just too busy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Big Boy Room


Well, as you probably have surmised by now, we completed painting Aidan's new room. It has three different colors, but it is difficult to see the difference between the color in the window inset and the wall into which the wall is actually inset. It almost looks like the reason the inset is lighter is just because the sun is coming in through the windows, but do not be deceived. It is actually a whole shade lighter. "Windmill Wings" should not be confused with "Summer Blue".

Anyways, you can see the dresser that I found at the Pottery Barn outlet, and in the other picture you can see the airplane above Aidan's crib that used to belong to Macon--a gift from his paternal grandfather. Macon's parents have been waiting (very patiently I might add) for that plane to leave their house for at least the last 8 years.

The Big Boy bed is not yet in effect, as Aidan still loves his crib. We are very happy for him to remain in said crib until he wants to leave it. This means that we'll be using a bassinet and port-a-crib for Baby Honor for as long as we can get away with it. Who knows, maybe she'll sleep in her carseat or Kick-n-play bouncer seat for the first 4 months like Aidan did. He was physically unable to lay flat for at least a few months after being born. The doctors guessed it was because he had been doing a pike position for so long in the womb that the muscles, tendons, and ligaments needed time to relax and stretch the other way. It did mean strapping him in at night (which sounds very strange I realize), but it worked and he slept. Which of course means that we slept, too.

I digress--here's the finished product of the room. Hope you like it!
Aidan's 1st Day

Well, it was over a week ago, but I wanted to be sure and post a pic from Aidan's first day of Preschool. The first day he did well, but had just started to cry from sheer exhaustion about 5 minutes before I picked him up. The second day he had been asleep for a half an hour by the time I got there and didn't want to budge--even though he was surrounded by lots of little toddlers having a grand ol' time. The third day of preschool (which was this Tuesday) he was awake and very happy when I picked him up. The teachers said they had no idea he could talk so much. I am guessing he finally decided he was comfortable with them and went to town trying to talk about every little thing like he usually does at home. I was excited that he was still awake when I got there. Putting him down for a nap once we got home was much easier that day.

Today, however, the little one has been in his crib for 45 minutes and is still awake. He was falling asleep until I put him in the bed. Then, he woke up and has been moving around and talking and doing his little "pre-nap moan" ever since. Man, I hope he falls asleep soon!
Thanks for asking.
Yes, I do want one.
"But I thought . . . " Macon called us last night and we had a good talk. Something he said made me consider the matter of "assuming". When I left the world of family and academia to commence my first summer of "real world" experience after my first year of law school, clerking for a fine lawyer in Raleigh, I entered a world where one simply could not make assumptions supported by someone else's word, at least not on the important stuff. I learned that lesson that summer and had to learn it again and again as I entered the regular practice of law three years later and began to grow in that profession.

People will lie to you. People will lie to people who would not lie to you, but who will pass along the lie unwittingly to you. You cannot challenge every fact that you would like to "assume", but you have to learn which ones are so important that you have to examine them carefully, independently, with a suitably jaundiced eye. Along the way, there are short cuts. For example, you learn to rely on people who are straight with you and are just as careful with assumptions. But you have to be so careful about whom you rely upon.

The way to succeed, of course, is to be one of those people upon whom others can rely, a person whose word is gold, who is "reliable". Never pass along a "fact" without being sure it is correct. That's why lawyers hedge so much. It's not that we are being deceitful. We know that someone is going to rely on our opinions, so we want to be sure that our clients understand just what it is that we are saying. Among the most important part of our opinion is our statement of "the facts". That is where we are very careful to identify those facts upon which we rely, to say where we got them (usually the client himself), and to qualify our opinion by indicating that we are proceeding on the assumption that the stated facts are true.

President Bush's reliance on Tenent concerning WMD (if that, indeed, was the real basis of the invasion) is worrisome, because Tenent had already missed 9/11 and was a Clinton administration hold-over. Bush is a good man, I think, and he must rely on others, but I find it worrisome that Tenent's word was so crucial on the decision to invade. In my humble opinion, that was a signal leadership failure on the President's part.

A few years ago, I gave an opinion to a client based upon a subordinate's legal research that I did not check. The associate did not work for me on a regular basis, but did work for a demandning partner. I "assumed" that, if the associate had been able to survive as that partner's researcher, the associate knew what she was doing when it came to the work I needed from her. She did not know what she was doing. I should have gone behind her memorandum of law, but I relied on it in giving my client my opinion on the matter. I came within a whisker of disaster. Poor, poor lawyering on my part but a remarkable instance of God's grace as the bullet came whizzing by and I ducked.

So we need to be careful about making assumptions and about whom we rely upon to give us "the facts".
MultiFailing. Jared Sandberg, who writes the "Cubicle Culture" column for the WSJ, had an excellent column yesterday entitled "Yes, Sell All My Stocks. No, the 3:15 from JFK. And Get Me Mr. Sister."

If you can find the article on OpinionJournal, you will find it worthwhile to read. It addresses a poor habit into which I have fallen at my desk, where the computer and the cell phone are right there with everything else. Sandberg quotes James C. Johnson, a research psychologist at NASA's Ames Research Center, who said, "Multitasking doesn't look to be one of the great strengths of human cognition. It's almost inevitable that each individual task will be slower and of lower quality."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

Deadlines.

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams.

UPDATE: More great quotes from Douglas Adams.
More on Manhood. My friend Austin recently attended a father/son retreat at a ranch out west. Among other things, he came back with a description of a "real" man. I take this to mean the sort of man that God meant in Job 40:7 when God told Job, "Brace yourself like a man".

A man, then,

1. Rejects passivity.

2. Accepts responsibility.

3. Leads courageously

4. Expects God's greater reward.

I know that Austin received a full explication of these points during the retreat, but we have not had time enough together for him to go into that explication with me. But those points are in large part self-explanatory. Each point seems to identify an area of weakness, especially in men. (I tend to want to do nothing - to be passive. I want someone else to do the heavy lifting. I want someone else to tell me what I should do next.) Number 4 had me a little puzzled, and so I have been giving it some thought over the last few days. (Its meaning is probably immediately plain to you.)

Number 4 seems to imply that our default mode is to expect, as a result of performing points 1 through 3 adequately, a reward other than "God's greater reward". That would be, I suppose, money, power, a fine reputation, all of the things that Job had at the beginning of the book. Those things are, of course, the currency of the world. But God had something greater for Job - not just the toys, but being able to "see" God.

Have you ever been energized by simply meeting someone and spending a little time with him? I find our pastor, Van, to be that sort of person. Being around him always prompts me to ask, not out of guilt but a sort of joy - OK, now where am I and where, in God's economy, do I need to go? A recent experience I had was meeting Governor Byrne of New Jersey, a Christian: just being in his 85 year old presence, hearing him talk and observing his decision-making made me feel better about myself, about what I, a 60 year old, could still do, and about what sort of world it is with which God continues to bless me. How much more will a man be transformed in the presence of God, and so it was with Job.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Your Duke Biblical Textual Criticism is a pretty typical Modernist conclusion.

I'm not talking about the decision to call something an "Epilogue." It's very clear that, as in most Old Testament books, there are parts of Job that seem to be different kinds of text. Either a different style, or different vocabulary indicate such a difference.

But so what? The conclusion that it's less "true" is so full of hidden pre-suppositions that it's laughable. How, for example, should one determine whether the "epilogue" came last or first?

Or, perhaps the "writer" of Job is merely a kind of editor who's putting together stories he heard, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

Such a "revelation" by college professors and sophomores is only troublesome if one has a very weak view of the doctrine of inspiration. such a doctrine might look something like: the document is inspired only if one person wrote it and wrote it all in one sitting, preferably under some sort of hypnotic trance.

But a robust doctrine of inspiration can handle the fact that perhaps there was a rough draft of a letter first, or that there were source documents used by the author, or that someone came along later who knew the end of the story and added it on.

(The latter is quite obviously the case with Deuteronomy, where the accepted author, Moses, has his own death described. Of course, if you held something like the weak view of inspiration, you'd have to posit that God told Moses how he was going to die. But with a robust view of inspiration, one needn't do that backflip when you can simply take the step of saying, "Yep, someone else wrote that after Moses died, this person was also inspired to write that last chapter and to add it on to the end of Deuteronomy.")

A robust doctrine of inspiration must be able to account for multiple source documents, multiple authors, multiple contexts, multiple audiences, as well as the transmission of said documents and the concilliar decisions to finally decide which books & letters counted as inspired and which ones were heretical.
What Makes a Man? Our Friday morning breakfast group had its last visit with Job yesterday. We talked about what we had learned and whether what we read has made(or should make) any difference to our lives. (Of course, it should. But in our entertainment culture, it is always important to ask whether any given activity will make a difference. So many pleasant activities seem to make no difference at all.)

One of my favorite passages in Job, which I have mentioned before, is Job 40:7a, where God admonishes Job, "Brace yourself like a man." (NIV) I simply cannot get that admonition out of my mind. In context, God is replying to Job's impertinent whining in verses 4 and 5 of that chapter. Both the ASV and the KJV translate the admonition as "Gird up thy loins now like a man" and the RSV "Gird up your loins like a man". I like the more literal "gird up your loins". It means get ready to do something important, in this case (as it should be in every case) doing God's will in the particular situation. The use of that word-picture "gird up your loins" is in several other places in Scripture.

The definition of the phrase to which I link above identifies "the loins" as the area between the waist and rib cage, because that is considered to be the strongest part of one's body. So the kettlebell boys are right on target. The loins are one's "core" muscles. It is also where the area around which one's battle belt is bound.

It seems harsh that God would tell Job at the end of the book to "Gird up they loins now like a man." Come on, Lord, give the guy a break. Look what you have already put him through. Hasn't he been broken down enough? And what, exactly, does he have left to gird, after you have destroyed everything in his life but his life?

God continues to speak to Job after 40:7, and he requires Job to consider both the "behemoth", the strongest created thing on land, and the "leviathan", the strongest created thing in the sea. I think God does that because he is showing Job what a man is not. Man is not the strongest created being in the world and because he is not then (a) he should not think himself so, (b) he should not aspire to be so, and (c) in not being so, he needs to brace himself for what the world, with Satan in it, will do to him and his family. So how does one gird his core to deal with his life, when God has already indicated that man is relatively weak? Of course, the answer is by having a right relationship with God, something, apparently, Job does not yet quite have. (See, of course, Ephesians 6:11-18!)

Finally, in Chapter 42, the first six verses, Job gets it right. He confesses that he never knew what he was talking about, as he questioned God, that his eyes finally see God, that he finally knows his place and just who he is, and that he therefore repents "in dust and ashes".

After verse six, the final section of Job begins, a section which my NIV describes as "Epilogue". When I studied Job in our Old Testament class at Duke years ago, at least one of the commentators said that this passage was just an "add-on" by someone other than the person who wrote the book, an add-on to make God a little more palatable. In other words, the "epilogue" is not "true" as the prior passages of the book are "true". We get to see how God "makes-up" for being so nasty to Job, by giving him more than Job had before God set Satan loose on him. What Job gets at the end of the book is rather like "compensatory damages" which one might recover in a court of law when someone wrongs him. That's a pretty unsatisfactory take on that section.

I think the passage should be read as an example of what a man can do who finally knows who he is, who God is, and what his place is in respect of God.
"One Month in Kenya". Mary has a new post.
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Wesley Smith has a blog.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Highly educated, straight-shooting women. Helen has nothing on Kellsey.
Ooops

Study shows people in a persistant vegetative state ("PVS")can communicate. (The article to which I link quotes Nicholas D. Schiff, MD, who states "It really is kind of shocking.")

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Must Read. Newt Gingrich lays it on the line about "the emerging World War III". From what I can tell, a great many in Congress and a large part of the American people simply don't get it.

UPDATE: Sean refers me to this post and this one by Tom Barnett, worthy counterpoints to Gingrich's views. If we look at the several states of the US during the 1850s and 1860s as analogous to the several countries of the West in the early 21st Century, maybe the comparison Newt makes turns out to work more for Tom than for Newt. But where's our Lincoln?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Eureka!!!

I finally found the box of things I had folded away two years ago that had a bunch of things in it for "Honor." For anyone reading this who might not know, Honor was the child we thought we were having when we had Aidan. In other words, we were told it was a girl, but sometimes those sonograms can be tricksy!

Anyways, I had received bunches of girl clothes, etc. at my baby showers and when we found out Honor was in fact Aidan, I took most everything back and exchanged girl stuff for boy stuff. It was fun. It was like having several big shopping sprees. There were a few items, however, that I either could not or did not return. Obviously, anything with Honor's name monogrammed on it did not get returned. ;-)

There were also some very cute little outfits that I either could not bare to part with because they were just so darn cute and I still had hopes to have a girl one day, or else I had no idea where the gift came from and so I could not take it back.

Well, after our sonogram yesterday revealing that this baby is a girl, (and this time the sonogram was MUCH more clear about things), I decided that I simply MUST find that box--the "Honor Box". Today I found it, and I am so glad. This little girl is Honor, and now she has some very cute things to wear and some simply fabulous burp cloths upon which she can spit!

The first new things that I bought her are her 2 hot pink, 1 baby pink, 2 bubblegum pink, and 1 lavender fuzzi bunz cloth diapers. I had already ordered some gender neutral colors such as black, white, turquoise, red, and lime green (just to name a few). Anyways, she will have a full set of diapers, and some fabulous gifts from 2004. YEA for finding the "Honor Box"!!!!
Church Kids Beat a Homeless Man to Death. Very disturbing. Just what are they teaching in that place?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day
Working on Aidan's Big Boy Room.
Kellsey, of course, picked out the three shades of blue for the room, and did the detail painting work. (You can't see the three shades in these pics. Sorry!)
Macon, of course, did the brute force rolling. Emphasis on "brute."

Monday, September 04, 2006

Word From the World of Ham Radio. Has the line gone dead? Is this one of Dad's enthusiasms that has finally run its course? No, no, no! In fact, I have resurrected the original idea for the new bedroom, a Ham Shack, releasing Mary's room back to her.

With the new room's shell complete, I have been able to look at it and to think about how it might be used effectively. The wall board has yet to be installed, so I have the opportunity to run transmission lines up the interior of the concrete block, east wall, to the room's ceiling, then across that wall to the outside, then along the porch rafters, which themselves will be eventually covered, and out to an exposed eave.

What makes this really exciting is that I can utilize a new gadget, an Ameritron RCS20-L, a remote antenna switcher.



This device that will hang under the eave and is a box to which one runs a single transmission line from the station inside the new room. The box will have additional coax connectors to which one can connect transmission lines from as many as 8 antennas. Also running to the box from a controller box inside the room will be a line that will supply 12V power for the relays and will deliver switching instructions so I will be able to switch antennas.

Walter has alleged some interest in the hobby. His grandfather-in-law is a certified real ham, not a dilettante as I am. He was a radio operator on dive bombers in the WWII Pacific and can read CW at 30 to 40 wpm or more. What a guy! Anyway, he has told Walter he will give him a radio to get started. (Walter has plenty of spare time, right?)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Job and his daughters. Our Friday breakfast/Bible study is in the last chapter of Job. At this culmination, Job finally confesses and repents. Following upon that event, the Lord blesses "the latter part of Job's life more than the first". At verse 12b of Chapter 42, there commences a laundry list of those blessings, starting with the least, beginning with "fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys." Crowning these blessings, however, are "seven sons and [finally] three daughters."

The scripture names none of the sons, but each of the daughters, Jemimah (my Bible says that Jemimah means "Dove"), Deziah ("cinnamon"), and Keren-Hapuch ("container of antimony" - a highly prized eyeshadow). "Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance, along with their brothers."

How did Job treat his daughters before disaster befell him? Would he have ranked those blessings as they are set out in Chapter 42? Would he have left his daughters an inheritance "along with his sons", a very unusual thing to do in the day and time? Would they be of such importance to Job, relative to his sons, that they would be regarded with the utmost favor and any account of his children would name only them? Did he learn from his disaster to love his daughters for their own sakes, rather than what they could do for him?

What does this say about the state of a father's soul, that he treats daughters as favorably as his sons, if not more so, about a culture that treats its daughters as favorably, about a faith that so favors its women.

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive . . . "

"Greetings, you who are highly favored . . . "