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Tuesday, December 2, 2003

•••About That Thieving Hardliford, Gent

Grant asked where I've been for the last while. Most of my oldest blogging friends (Nosuch, PopeSleipnir, Payphone, Gebryan, etc.) had all but stopped blogging, and so I started considering that the fad had well passed. Parachute pants may be making a comeback, but blogging just isn't what the cool kids do anymore I guess.

More seriously, things got busy IRL and the busier I got, the more a dull boy I was becoming. So the answer I needed was not 'spend more of your free time writing treatises,' but find a way to turn the brainiac switch off for a while. Everybody needs a break. So I've been on one.

That said, Shadowbane is proving an effective distraction to get my head from being stuck in 10th gear. I've found a pretty decent player guild, Sanguine Wild, and have been exercising the creative muscles a bit now and then with a character named Gent Hardliford, among a few others.

You can often catch me there on Sunday afternoons and evenings and Mondays, or other times now and then.

He's a Wererat. And a Rat Catcher. And a sometimes Thief.

  2:45:28 PM   googleit 197     

Thursday, November 20, 2003

•••God version 6.0

Been a long while since I saw something this funny and yet so totally on the mark.

Order yours today!™

  7:48:19 PM   googleit 196     

Friday, October 10, 2003

•••Daddy, Where Does Knowledge Come From?

Along with hermeneutics (the philosophy of interpretation), related questions of epistomology (the philosophy of knowledge and knowing things) continue to intrigue me.  When we start to talk about filters through which one approaches the Bible, some of those are epistomological.  I approach the Scriptures with the presupposition that I can, in fact, obtain reliable knowledge there.  Not ALL kinds of knowledge, mind you.  I don't suspect one can ever discover how to repair the Phantom Thunder vacuum cleaner in those pages, nor do I suppose I shall find knowledge of many other subjects.  But I do pre-suppose that it is a reliable source of knowledge in spiritual matters.  What was believed?  What was taught?  I come to the Bible supposing I can learn these things from it's passages. 

Others approach the Bible with what has sometimes been termed a "Hermeneutic of Suspicion."  This suspicion takes different forms, but what they share in common is the assumption that what one is about to read is fundamentally unreliable, untrustworthy.  There is a tendency to read an insincerity into the Biblical text.  Beyond insincerity, some tend to read looking to find evidence of 20th and 21st Century political philosophies (both 'liberal' and 'conservative') being employed in these ancient documents, and the contents are unreliable because their purpose is not spiritual edification -- but human manipulation and the pursuit of a social agenda.  Still others draw near supposing that Science alone is the nearest thing to a reliable source of knowledge known to contemporary humans.  This hermeneutic of experience (reproducable experience, for the scientist -- deeply personal experience for Oprah et. al.) and experimentation being the standard measure of Truth applies rather universally in the minds of many.  Here's an example:

"Throughout history poets have written about the pain of a broken heart," Panksepp said in his commentary. "It seems that such poetic insights into the human condition are now supported by neurophysiological findings." [from an AP story today "Why A Broken Heart Hurts So Much."]

It's worth asking the question, "Gee, what if neurophysical findings had never confirmed this?  Would it be any less true?  Was it any less true yesterday, or 300 years ago, or back in the time of, say, King David?"

There is much more to be known than science can teach and prove to us.  That is a presupposition (faith) I hold before I ever pick up my Bible.  I don't believe it's an unreasonable presupposition, but I acknowledge that more than a few people today do deem even worse than unreasonable, but foolish.  I come to the text of Scripture willing to hear from the text what it knows about spiritual matters, willing to learn there something I don't know.  It's one of the filters I am aware that I read through.  Not the only one, but the first I thought I'd toss out for you.

  12:26:46 PM   googleit 195     

Friday, October 3, 2003

•••What D & D Character Are You?

I Am A: Lawful Good Elf Monk/Bard

Lawful Good characters are the epitome of all that is just and good. They believe in order and governments that work for the benefit of all, and generally do not mind doing direct work to further their beliefs.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Monks are strange and generally not understood by the world at large. They live apart from people, and follow strict codes that restrain their behavior and lifestyle. They have an exceptionally calm outlook on life, and generally do not resort to violence unless absolutely necessary. Even when they do, their code of conduct forbids the use of all weapons - except their hands. As such, monks are extremely skilled at hand-to-hand combat, and no other style.

Secondary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Tyr is the Lawful Good god of justice. He is also known as Tyr Grimjaws, Wounded Tyr, the Maimed God, and Blind Tyr. He appears as a warrior, missing his hand. Followers of Tyr are concerned first and foremost with justice - discovering the truth and punishing the guilty for their crimes. They wear blue and purple robes with a white sash, a white gauntlet on the left hand, and a black gauntlet on the right, to symbolize Tyr's lost hand. Their preferred weapon is the warhammer. Tyr's symbol is a set of scales resting on a warhammer.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

  12:58:26 PM   googleit 194     

•••Missouri Loves Company

From Religious News Service story "More Cracks in Episcopal Unity Following Gay Bishop Election:"

"Together with similar actions by Episcopalians in Central Florida, Albany, N.Y., Fort Worth, Texas, and likely South Carolina and Quincy, Ill., the Pittsburgh resolutions foreshadow a long winter of discontent in the 2.3 million-member church.

Following the lead of Bishop Robert Duncan, delegates meeting at St. Martin's Church here declared the church's vote this summer to confirm Robinson "null and void" and resolved to withhold its yearly financial commitment to the national church.

Duncan, a leading conservative, called Robinson's election a "pastoral emergency." After Robinson was approved by delegates and bishops in August, Duncan took swift action to distance his flock from what he called the denomination's "schismatic actions."

And here's something from a similar story from Agape Press,

"Episcopal Leader Defends Confirmation of Homosexual Bishop"

"And Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, speaking on Saturday of what he describes as "schismatic decisions," said "unity with the whole Christian Church, not just the Anglican Communion, is at stake."

Concern among Episcopal bishops is not limited to the United States.  In a letter to a fellow bishop in Africa -- who during a recent interview said African clergymen who were expressing opposition to homosexual ordination were "arrogant, intolerant, and hypocritical" -- Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Anglican Church of Nigeria stated: "What is at stake has to do not just with the identity of the Church universal and our historic faith, but also how we treat God and His incarnate and written Word."

With the Crisis in the LCMS about to come to a head in only 9 months, I feel for the Christians that remain in the Episcopal church too. It's not just the Missouri Synod that is going through a time of tremendous stress. Nor just the Catholic clergy that experience the fallout of the clergy abuse scandals. Schadenfreude has no place in the Body of Christ.

Props to the Cyberbrethren e-news list for this and a delightfully wide variety of religious news articles which make for some excellent reading

  11:33:33 AM   googleit 193     

•••Vacation! Have to Get Away!

So I was meeting with the elders of the congregation earlier this week and they say to me, "Well, Pastor, when are you planning on taking your vacation?" I shrugged my shoulders and said, I don't know, my sister graduates from high school in May next year, maybe then?

"Well, we meant for this year. You get two weeks, you know."

I was dumbfounded. I'm still dumbfounded. Been a long, long time since anyone went out of their way to make sure I took a vacation. I love these people at Zion!

Now I've gotta plan a vacation. Too bad the good PopeSleipnir has fallen off the face of the web, or I'd try to hook up with him somehow for part of it. Any suggestions?

  8:42:45 AM   googleit 192     

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

•••A Pour Theology

Here's a hermeneutical problem for y'all, expressed in an eye-poem:

Trigun on [adult swim]

So tell me, what's wrong with this picture? Anything?

  5:17:55 PM   googleit 191     

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

•••I've Been Swamped

A word of assurance to my kind online readers and friends, I am alive and well. My comment service was down until the 9th or 10th, but now that it's back up and running I reckon I should be too.

So what's been going on in the preacherman's life? A fair bout of brotherly grief at the death of a local pastor's little girl. That local pastor also happens to be married to my second-cousin, and I count them both friends and family. God bless and keep them, visiting them with his comfort and lending them his strength as they continue to live on in Christ.

Then I had the good pleasure of spending a couple of days here at the house with Danny, his wife Carolyn and their son and our fellow blogger Grant (aka the Rawkstah). All were members of the first congregation I served fresh out of seminary, and I don't see any of them often enough. They saw me make all my new preacher mistakes and loved and supported me through 'em. Well, Grant maybe didn't notice as many of 'em. He was in high school in those days. As the small-town newspapers say of such visits, "A good time was had by all."

Season those busy few days with lotsa work and it all adds up to no blogging. Then, on my day off rather than write here I decided to follow the advice of good old Syndir and try out the 10 free days of Shadowbane. So far, I like what I see better than EQ. Seems to have a good potential for roleplaying, but is more geared toward nation-building, politics, conquest and strategy. Too many PC users, too much testosterone permeating the world. Initially, at least, it seems too strictly like a 'guy game' -- and that's not a Good Thing™ in my book.

Too bad I don't have 10 days to spend playing it. Lotsa work to get done. But in the evenings (when I don't have meetings, and classes to teach, that is) you just might find me as Krinan in the Carnage world newbie lands -- probably near Swampstone.

  11:16:49 AM   googleit 190     

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

•••Searching for the YACCS Round Tuit

In case any of my highly esteemed readers hadn't noticed, my YACCS comment service is offline, possibly to return September 2nd or 3rd or whenever Hossein Sharifi (my most generous free comment server provider from rateyourmusic.com) happens upon his lost round tuit.

  10:56:06 PM   googleit 189     

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