Seven Things

Kansas Bob posted 7 things on his blog. I’ve done these memes before too, but it’s been a while. So here are 7 unusual or less known things about me:

  1. I like eggs over easy and I dip my toast in the gooey egg yolks. The gooey egg makes my wife nearly ill so I don’t eat ’em much.
  2. I’m not a lover of fruit pies. I can appreciate a good apple or peach, but given the choice between that and chocolate pudding pie, I’ll take the chocolate every time.
  3. When the family is together going someplace, 99% of the time I do the driving. I enjoy driving and don’t much like riding in the passenger seat.
  4. Speaking of driving, I love to drive in bad weather. Rain, snow or fog, I don’t know why but I really enjoy it.
  5. In HS I really loved the Hitchhiker’s Guide series by Douglas Adams (still do).
  6. I drove the T’bird I currently own to the Homecoming dance in HS when my grandfather owned it.
  7. I passed up two affordable project cars during my college years. Between HS & college I had a chance to buy a rough but complete ’75 Hurst Olds W-55 that could have been had for about $800 and during my freshman year I passed on a very rough ’72 Camaro Z-28 4-speed for $1,500. Both cars are pretty rare (1 of something like 1,200) and both needed a lot of work. I did the wise thing in turning them down but sometimes wish I would have been stupid and had some fun putting an interesting car together.

How about you, what are your seven things? Blog ’em and let me know or leave a comment.

Removing AJAX from Mid-Century Commenting

Edit 2010-04-20: A year and a half after implementing Mid Century, while playing with Byrne Reese’s Mid Century 2.0 I was having these same issues. I let him know and he tells me that the Mid Century AJAX requires the option “Use Comment Confirmation Page” to be turned on under commenting preferences. Bingo! Now everything works. Probably would have fixed it here too, so if you’re having commenting issues with Mid Century, try that first.
Edit 2008-11-26: I added a download file to make it easier and clarified the instructions.
When I changed over to Mid-Century, I had some goofy things happening with commenting. It seemed related to the AJAX that powered commenting in Mid-Century.
In theory, the AJAX is pretty cool. When a comment is posted, the entire page doesn’t get rebuilt, only the comment section. The new comment is then highlighted in yellow, which is neat. In practice, it didn’t work at all on my site and adding my Google Analytics code really messed it up. I decided the AJAX magic wasn’t worth it, so I went looking for ways to de-AJAX.
Help wasn’t very forthcoming from the MT Forums or Jim Ramsey, the developer of Mid-Century (hey, people are busy), so I did some detective work.
I created a test blog and loaded the Classic Blog template set to compare Mid-Century to the default templates. I found that the two template sets to be very similar, with Mid-Century having a few more template modules and an additional javascript index template. Of course, the template content is very different, but the template listings are similar. The problem was in the ‘Comments’ template module.
I loaded each into EditPad Pro and hitting ‘compare files’ I found a lot of differences. Digging further, I found that most were due to Mid-Century using old syntax for some MT tags and Mid-Century having an ‘Individual Comment’ module that was included into the ‘Comments’ module. Reconciling those differences revealed a couple additional div tags and two script tag differences. The script tags was what I was looking for.
Mid-Century has a long additional script tag just after the ‘Comment Greeting’ div and before the form tag. It’s also missing the script from the end of the Classic Blog ‘Comments’ template, just before the closing ‘mt:IfCommentsAccepted’ tag. Fixing this removed the AJAX and made commenting worked as expected again.
While that worked, commenting was fine and the page loaded fine, I did notice that it generated a JavaScript error related to the ‘mtEntryOnUnload’ function. The JavaScript is generated by an index template named, cleverly, ‘JavaScript’. After comparing the Mid-Century JavaScript template to the Classic Blog JavaScript template, I found several variations (the template is 800+ lines), at least one relating to the ‘mtEntryOnUnload’ function. I don’t know JavaScript, but I figured I could replace the Mid-Centurry file with the lassic Blog file and see what happens, backing up the original first. I gave it a shot and it worked, no more JavaScript errors.
So, removing AJAX is fairly easy. I made a duplicate of my original JavaScript & Comments templates in MT before I started, just in case. Here are the changes you need to make:

  1. In your Mid-Century ‘Comments’ template module, comment or delete the long script tag just before the form tag.
  2. Also in your Mid-Century ‘Comments’ template module, add the short, 6 line script tag from the Classic Blog ‘Comments’ template module, just before the closing ‘mt:IfCommentsAccepted’ tag.
  3. Swap out the contents of the MidCentury JavaScript template for the contents of the Classic Blog JavaScript template.

So you don’t have to create a new blog to get the Classic Blog template content, you can find the added content in this text file.
That’s it, now your Mid-Century comment system is de-AJAX’ed.

Comments Fixed and More

OK, after some template detective work, I think I figured out how to strip the AJAX magic that wasn’t so magical from the templates. Comments should be back to normal, but please let me know if things still aren’t working for you.
Also, you may have noticed that I changed the icon in the upper page header. My sister mentioned that she missed seeing a car across the top of the page when she visited. I do to and plan to do something more substantial to personalize the look, but changing the logo/icon in Mid-Century is pretty easy and documented on Jim Ramsey’s blog here.
Now that I’ve sorted the commenting wonkiness, I’m planning to make some other changes to this theme to make it my own. Yes, I plan on figuring out how to bring the commenting preview and formatting buttons back as well.

It Desecrates the Holy

We must begin marriage with a covenantal oath, and then never break our oath. Marriage portrays Christ and the church. As the husband and wife are physically united as one, Christ and the church are spiritually one. The way we live reflects on Christ and the church. We do not have the luxury of being able to say nothing about the church. Our lives always speak. Mental and physical infidelity lies to the world about the spiritual faithfulness of Jesus and his people. Immorality trashes the mystery of Christ and his church. It desecrates the holy.

R. Kent Hughes on sexual conduct in Set Apart, p. 83

Ecclesiastes 4 – Oppressions, Contentment and Relationships

Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 4:1-4

An appropriate lament in an era where individuals are losing their homes (some innocent, some not so much) and jobs while executives continue to get large paychecks, big bonuses, go on lavish retreats and at worst get golden parachutes.
Ecclesiastes 4:6 – “Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” Paul said something similar to Timothy – “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment”. But Christians continue to fall for the pattern of the world that says much toil and much gain brings contentment.
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 – Surrounding these verses much used in weddings is a larger, more general truth. Relationships are more beneficial than hard work or what it gains you. How many families have been ruined by a father’s lone ambition to succeed, perhaps couched in ‘providing for his family’?

Rethinking Legal Definitions of Marriage

Scott posted this on his Facebook page a couple of days ago. It’s a pretty thought provoking take on the passing of California’s ban on same sex marriages and well worth 6 minutes or so of your time. California isn’t the first state to pass this, Ohio did a few years ago (which I voted for) and many other states have as well. For some reason California’s passage is getting more attention than I remember other states votes getting. Maybe it’s because if any state would vote against it it would be California.
As I said, I voted for the Ohio amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I stand by that assertion, though not necessarily that vote anymore. I’m not entirely sure, frankly.
I am sure of what God says marriage to be in scripture. Man and Woman. Nowhere does God indicate that folks of the same sex should get married. All examples of marriage in scripture are of men and women. God treats that relationship as special and has given married folks something special, sex, that they and only they are to enjoy. God has said that sex is not for unmarried people and it is not for people of the same sex. There’s really no way around that in scripture. So the clear implication, if not explicit instruction, is that marriage is a man-woman thing.
It is certainly within the rights of a people, be it a state or nation, to pass laws defining terms and legal entities. We can define marriage to be whatever we want it to be, but whatever we say has no bearing on what God says. Does the state have an interest in defining marriage? I suppose it does, but the extent that its interests align with Gods is mostly coincidence. By promoting placing that authority in the state, what statement is the Christian making? When the state’s interest no longer aligns with God’s, and in fact interferes and stands in the way of Godly marriages (as opposed to simple allowing marriages that God would not), what then will the Christian do? After all, we’ve already validated the state’s authority in this matter.
Is it wrong to vote for or promote these measures? No, but neither is it wrong to oppose them. God’s definitive opinion is not changed or harmed either way.
Were if to come up for vote again, I’m not so sure I’d vote for it now. What are your thoughts?

Real Change

Dan at Cerulean Sanctum as a thought provoking post on the election. Go read it for an interesting take on how the Obama victory was a victory for truth, just not the truth that most white Christians were focused on. He’s dead on there.
But I want to focus on these nuggets:

The Republican Party has done next to nothing for born-again Christians…
…yet we continue to mindlessly suck at its teat.
… the devotion to the GOP continues to not only bite us but show us as not all that dedicated to our principles.
… We look like sheep in the end. And not the Lord’s sheep, but GOP sheep. Baa on all of us. It’s the old case of fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

I voted republican for a variety of reasons. The big reason I didn’t seriously consider Obama was his stand on abortion. It’s a deal breaker issue, and rightfully so. If we will not stand up for those with, literally, no voice, who will?
But as I watched the campaign unfold and I saw Obama motivate folks that usually don’t participate, as I saw him speak decisively of hope in tough times (much like Reagan did in 1980) and I watched the McCain campaign focus on why Obama is bad and draw lines in the sand with good on one side and evil (and Obama) on the other, I wondered if I was on the right team.
I’ve never been a partisan cheerleader, but I’ve voted Republican nearly every election. I’ve seen many Christians look down on those who’d pull any other lever than the one with the R next to it. (Frankly, I saw the same in a few Obama supporting Christians this time too.) But the Republicans are not Jesus, in fact, I see a lot of Jesus in the Democrats, maybe more than the Republicans.
Are evangelicals willing to step back and see that their marriage to the Republican party has benefited the party much, much more than the cause of Christ (if it was benefited at all)? Will the supporters of Obama learn that lesson and not plant Christ’s flag next to his?
Dan goes on to say this:

The only “Change We Can Believe In” is Jesus Christ. Neither the Republicans nor Democrats offer real change. Anything or anyone else that gets billed as change is a lie.
If want to to see our land healed, then we do what Jesus Christ told us to do in the Great Commission: We make disciples.
Because a nation right with God only comes about through the transformation of human lives by Jesus Christ. And that happens when you and I do the one thing so few of us care to do.
Politics is easy. It takes very little to put up a sign in our yard announcing our choice in candidates.
Evangelizing the world is much tougher, especially in a post-Christian West that has been inoculated against the Gospel by Christians who talk a good faith but who live it haphazardly. Heart change only comes, though, when Christians stop talking about evangelism and actually start doing it. It’s when our walk matches our talk. When our rhetoric matches the Bible and is lived out before the world, then people might sit up and take notice. We have to stop dedicating so much time to erecting our individual kingdoms and spend more time working with the Lord to build His Kingdom His way.

That is absolutely the truth and truth that I often fail at. Championing your favorite candidate may improve the nation a bit or make it worse. It’s not insignificant, but it will not transform the lives of your neighbors or coworkers. We forget that Jesus’ plan was never to bring salvation through systematic change in governance or organizations. Instead he planned that each of us would have the power to transform lives through our submission, obediance, example and witness.
Obama or McCain can not enhance or hinder that. It is of God, effective regardless of the circumstance or power structure. It worked in Christian hostile Rome, it works in the underground churches of China and it works in the USA.
Do we believe that?

Out of the Mouths of Babes …

On the way home from the harvest party tonight we were listening to Casting Crowns and the song While You Were Sleeping came on. It’s about how Jesus came into the world while Bethlehem (verse 1) and then Jerusalem (verse 2) slept and missed the savior. Each verse ends with the phrase “you will go down in history / As a city with no room for its King” and the girls wanted to know what that meant, so I explained how it meant that they would be remembered for missing Jesus.
Verse 3 is directed to America:

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard ‘cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night, in the night
America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

They didn’t understand why it now spoke to America, which I can understand. After all, Jesus never came here at all. I explained that the writer saw in America a lot of things that weren’t what God wanted, America wasn’t following God or obeying His commands.
To which Audrey (9) blurted out, emphatically:

Well, we’ve gotta stop it!

I wish the written word could convey her tone. It was not a judgmental decree for the righteous to stand against the evil ones. Instead it was the simple declaration of a child that if we’re not following God, well, we should just stop it!

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