Off to Missouri ..

Headed to visit family in Missouri. Don’t expect any posts until I return late Tuesday, but I might get online while I’m away.
Meanwhile, visit one of the blogs linked at left. I understand that JohnE has a good post on revelation (haven’t read it yet myself.) Also, Kristen seems to be coming around a bit on the EC. 🙂 If that stuff’s too heavy for you, go visit the Thinklings and read the comments on watches and toothpaste squeezing (there’s plenty of deeper stuff there too, but those are the two funniest posts and comments threads I’ve read in a while.)
See ya later.

Notice to Subscribers

I’ve edited a couple of old posts lately. For some reason, MT Notifier has sent out notifications as if they were new. I don’t know why, nor how to stop it. So no, that post from a year or 6 months ago isn’t new. Sorry to clutter your inbox with extra mail. Hmm, I guess I just did it again. Sorry again then.

A Work Day

This past weekend my sister and I went to our parents’ recitals – uh, shows. My Dad is an avid Barbershop singer (for about 38 years now) and my Mom is a tap dancer. Dad’s placed as high as 13th in international quartet competitions and Mom’s danced on the big star in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. On Sunday they did a joint show, so I got to see both of them perform in one outing. Most near 40 year olds are having Mom and Dad come watch their kids (we do that too), not going to watch their parents.
But that’s not the subject of this post. Heading to Toledo, I picked up my sister at a church gathering. I thought that her church marrieds group was having a retreat of some kind. Instead they were having a work day.
One of the group members lives in the country north of Columbus near Delaware OH. Not much around them, but the property next door is an older house that may have been an old farm house. There’s an elderly woman, in her late 70’s, living there alone. She’s evidently been pretty quiet, keeping to herself.
This past winter as this couple was leaving their home, they noticed something odd at the house. I don’t remember what, but something made them stop and check the woman’s home. They found her, without a coat in sub-freezing temps, on her porch barefoot. She had evidently gone out to get the mail or newspaper and locked the door. She dropped her keys along the porch and couldn’t retrieve them. She had taken her shoes off in her confusion thinking it might give her a better grip on the ice. Paramedics were called and when they arrived they were not able to get a body temperature to register on her. She spent some time in the hospital, but has recovered fine.
Since then, she’s warmed up to them a bit, and they to her. I suppose a near death experience will do that. They noticed that her property needed some attention, peeling paint, overgrown trees and flower beds, etc. So this couple arranged for their Bible study group to come up for a Saturday work party. They scraped and repainted, trimmed trees, cleared beds and planted flowers. The old woman, I guess, looked on at all these young folks (mostly in their mid 30’s) scurrying around her usually quiet property.
I picked up my sister before they were quite done, so I don’t know how she felt or what she said at the end. No matter, I guess, they were just doing as Jesus did and I know that He was thankful they cared.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

Resurection and Appearances

Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-14, Luke 24:1-44, John 20:1-29, 21:1-24
Matthew 28:2-4 – This reads like some sort of fairy tale. I have to remind myself that it was real, it actually happened. This is not just some nice story. It seems so distant, it’s hard to grasp that. I can believe it intellectually, but emotionally it’s hard.
Mark 16:6 – “But go, tell His disciples and Peter …” A distinction that probably stung.
Luke 24:4-8 – The speak of His resurrection from a completely different frame of reference. “He said he was going to rise again, why are you here?” But to the women, and to us, the resurrection was so improbable as to be ridiculous. When told ahead of time, the obvious interpretation of ‘rise’ was ignored because it was outside of possibility. To these ‘men’ it was improbable that the women would be there, looking for Him when He said He would rise.
John 20:2 – It was so ridiculous that they still didn’t get it.
John 20:8-9 – They believed, but they didn’t understand. They believed what, then?
John 20:11-17 – Can you imagine what was going through Mary’s mind? She’s put her faith in this man, she still calls Him ‘Lord’, and now He’s dead. She goes to do her duty, to anoint His body and pay her respects, and He’s gone. After all that’s happened, the body’s gone and she can’t even put an end to it. No closure. Then, thinking she’s turning to the gardener, she turns to find out where He is. But it is Him!
In a movie depiction of this story made by DPI, once Mary sees Jesus and is told to go tell the others, she’s show running with absolute reckless abandon down the rocky hillside. Her clothes and scarves flowing behind her, she runs like a 5 year old child does – looking like she will fall on her face at any minute. As she runs toward them, she’s screaming with Joy “He’s Alive! He’s Alive! He’s Alive!” It’s a phenomenally moving portrayal of that scene, one that I carry with me each time I read it or think about it. It captures the joy of that moment, discovering that the one you had worshiped, had put your faith in has raised from the dead.
Matthew 28:11-15 – Can you imagine being so callous hearted that reports of Jesus’ resurrection are not enough to get you to believe. You believe the reports enough to fabricate a lie to cover them, but not enough to believe in Him.
Luke 24:36-44 – Over and over Jesus appeared to them, yet each time it says they did not believe. Would I have been any different? No, but from this distance it seems a little silly that they didn’t get it.
John 21:18-19 – I wonder if this prophesy haunted Peter? There’s no indication, as you look at Acts, that he was intimidated by it. I can’t imagine always wondering if this is the day they will come and lead me away.

The Gospels in Their Context

Please head over to the Barnabas Ministry and read Rescuing the Gospel From the Gospels. It’s an excellent look into the context of the first four books of the New Testament – Why they were written, When and How the early church used them. To entice you to go check it our, here are a couple of quotes:

The gospels teach many ideals: love for enemies, humility, forgiveness, prayer, giving to the poor, and the like. Now what if we made a comprehensive list of all such items in the gospels? This is exactly what is done by those frustrated with the fallenness of the church or eager to prove themselves better than other Christians. They turn these ideals into a “Christian Law” — requirements for salvation, and it becomes ten times more oppressive than the Law of Moses.

Been there, done that.

We can claim we do xyz, and may actually do xyz for a time, but have we done xyz enough? Sooner or later, and it’s usually sooner, failure comes into the equation for the Christian. And the same is true for any and every example of “law” that might be mined from the gospels. Salvation does not come from following the law– any law.

I can’t even manage to follow my pet peeves, let alone live up to every standard put forth by Jesus in the Gospels.

The gospels teach what is true and good and right. These things are virtues– things that lead to blessings and point the way to goodness. And they are ideals that point the way to spiritual growth, not requirements that stand against us. Those who want to turn the gospels into a Christian Law often look at spiritual performance as a “half-empty” sort of a thing. No matter what good happens, there is some failure. For those who turn virtues into law or ideals into demands, there is only unrelenting condemnation. Failures against this “law” are beaten against the hearts of those who seek to do right. (In fact, this is a leading control mechanism in abusive and unhealthy churches– leadership persistently pointing out failures of the followers in order to maintain control over them.) Thus, the Christian is no longer free to do good, he is only condemned by his limitations. How is any of these “good news?” It just looks and sounds like complete and utter condemnation. …
Jesus let virtues be virtues without looking for some failure in the performance. I believe that Jesus saw spiritual virtues as a cup “half-full.” He recognized and praised the feeble efforts of people to do what was right; he did not stand over them pointing out their failures. God accepts our picnic basket lunches, our simple mustard-seed faith in him, our well-intentioned acts of repentance, and our sorrow for our sins. He doesn’t beat us over the head because we haven’t done enough.

I feel like I ought to say something here, but it speaks for itself.

The gospels give us ideals, things to shoot for, things that will bring blessings in heaven and on earth, things that advance God’s work. We should not disregard them or be reckless concerning them:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

But we are only deceiving ourselves if we think we actually attain these ideals, or if we think salvation is tied to such a performance. And if we teach this to others, our message can hardly be called “good news.” In the end, we need salvation after conversion just as much as we need salvation before conversion.

Please go read the whole thing, it’s excellent.
Thanks to Pfredy for the link.

Decisions, Decisions



I’ve been working on a side project for a friend and it’s almost payday. The money is going into the old ‘Bird and in the next week I’m signing up for some aluminum rims for the old gal. I’ve nailed down the sizes and narrowed my choices to the two picturess at the right, both from Boyd Codington.
Here are the sizes:
Front
17″ x 8″
225/55R17
4″ Backspace
Rear
18″ x 9″
255/45R18
4.5″ Backspace
The first one is the Smoothie II’s that Boyd has made for a while. They are pretty easy to get (about a week or two) and not too expensive.
The second one is called “Junkyard Dog” and is brand new. I don’t have pricing on them yet, but they will take 8 weeks to get according to Boyd.
I’m partial to the JYD (bottom) because it’s a little more aggressive with its ‘dished’ look rather than the ‘domed’ look of the Smoothie II. But if it’s significantly more money in addition to being more time, I’ll probably go with the Smoothie II.
Any thoughts?

T’bird Help

This post is mostly for folks from the Squarebirds group at Yahoo groups, but I know I have at least one gear head reader that might be able to help.
I bought a new Fuel pump for the old ‘bird, to try to get it back on the road. I spent a good part of Saturday morning taking the old one out and running to the parts store. The new pump I bought at NAPA and was only listed as for the 1958. Mine’s a 1960, but the T’bird parts places lists one pump for all, so I thought I’d be OK.
The image at the right is of the two pumps side by side (Cick the image for a larger version). As you might be able to tell, the inlet and outlet are different between the two. On the old one, the inlet is the one on the left (with the fitting in it) and the outlet is on the right. On the new one, the ports aren’t labeled like the old one’s are and they are in different places. There is a port at roughly the same place as the outlet on the old one, but the other is to the right not the left and is on the other side of the lower gasket you can see in the picture (the pumps are upsidedown). Both ports are on the same side of that gasket in the old one.
What I’m wondering is which one is which? Should I take this back to NAPA and get one from somewhere else?

A Good Name for a Rock Band

With a hit tip to Dave Barry, I introduce a new category, Good Band Names. EDIT 05-23-2006: Never thought of any more good band names, so no need for a category. My appologies to you folks who find your way here looking for inspiration (It’s one of the top search terms for folks arriving here). Feel free to use the name below, just leave a comment if you do.
Todays entry is:
Fermented Skittle Juice

The Microsoft Moneypot

The other day I got one of those email forwards. You’ve probably gotten this one too. It’s the one that says that Microsoft is testing an email tracking program and will pay you $200+ for each person you send the email too.

When you forward this email to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two-week time period. For every person that you forward this email to, Microsoft will pay you $245, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243, and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $241.

Well, I decided to do some digging into the hoax and found this article from the July 2004 issue of Wired Magazine on the history of this, the oldest of email hoaxes. They actually tracked down the guy who started it back in 1997:

It all started on November 18, 1997, when the guy sitting beside him in the computer lab received a get-rich-quick email, one of the first examples of spam that either of them had seen. “I can come up with something better than that,” Mack boasted. Three minutes later, Bill Gates’ email-tracing program was born. Mack thought it was funny enough to send to a friend at Loras College in Dubuque, with “bill gates here” in the subject line. It made the guy laugh, so he passed it on.

Interesting article.
BTW – If you’re going to send these emails on to your entire mailing list, by all means use BCC instead of the To or CC fields. I went through my copy of the MS email tracking message and found 108 email addresses. If I was a spammer, I just found 108 new victims. By using BCC, you only annoy your friends with useless hoaxes without exposing them to a spam risk.
BTW 2 – In addition to the usual email spam I get offering to make parts of my anatomy larger, get me low cost better prescriptions drugs to make that anatomy perform, software at low, low prices and other, uh, interesting products; I’m now getting spam offering to help me train my dog. Huh? Anyone else getting those?

Crucifixion

Matthew 27:33-66, Mark 15:23-47, Luke 32:32-56, John 19:18-42
Matthew 27:51-53 – How did those who denied Jesus’ deity explain these happenings? Are there other texts from the day that mention these events?
Mark 15:42-45, Matthew 27:59-60, John 19:38-42 – These were brave men who truly cared for Jesus. I wonder where the 12 were at this time? Did they accompany these men? The women did, at least secretly (Luke 23:55-56).

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