Thursday, December 28, 2006

Did Jesus Wear Clothes?

I got the opportunity to listen to Donald Miller speak tonight. He proposed the following:

Our need to cover up our nakedness is a direct result of the fall and our need of outside approval, out of which our culture has created this imaginary "life boat" mentality (in which we all have to argue our own self worth in other peoples eyes), which Jesus was outside of, being true God.

My questions is: did Jesus wear clothes, and if so, why?

I know I horribly presented his thoughts (being that it took him 45 minutes to break it down I don't think I did too shabby). However, I highly recommend reading Donald Millers "Searching for God Knows What" which covers the backdrop to the question very well. I was able to speak with him afterwards and if you were curious about the answer, he did provided a very intelligent one. "Yes Jesus wore clothes out of humility, as part of his becoming true man. He probably hated wearing clothes." :)

For the most part he spoke on the question "Does Christianity explain the reality of the world we live in?". If you read my blog regularly you know that is exactly the concept I have been wrestling with, especially as I have been reading "Simply Christian" by N.T. Wright. I asked Donald Miller if he had read the book and it turns out he hasn't, but he did buy an autographed copy recently when he was visiting N.T. Wrights castle in Durham England. I also got the inside scoop on Mr. Wright. Apparently he has a fancy for classic British sports cars and golfing.

Sonic and Spektor

Regina Spektor possibly has one of the most beautiful voices in the world.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Case closed.

She is currently touring in Europe. I just missed her though. She came through Portland in October. On the bright side, it looks like she comes through Portland about once a year, so I guess I have something to look forward to.


Many thanks to the genius entrepreneur who decided to start a Sonic franchise in Hillsboro Oregon. As a result I got my first taste of Sonic since my transplant from the south to Oregon 11 years ago. Every bit as good as my best memories.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

24 (Christmas Parody)

This ones for you Franklin:

Posted By:Mediocre Films

Get this video and more at MySpace.com

Ending is kinda lame though.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If I would have known...

...that I was going to meet the entire Gresham city council, the current Mayor of Gresham, and shake hands with and converse with the Mayor elect of Gresham, then I would...

...Not have worn jeans with holes in them.

...Have probably shaved at least once in the last month.

...Have most likely gotten my mop of hair at least trimmed.

But I didn't know.

God is GREAT! I am so thankful for his Spirit and his Son's love that flows out of my actions. I pray Marcy has a glorious Christmas and can find peace and rest through in the knowledge of the birth of Jesus.

I know this post probably makes absolutely no sense to anyone, but maybe you will get to hear the whole story someday (if your lucky).

David Knepprath

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Trickle Effect

After the fall Campus Crusade for Christ Portland Metro team meeting and delving into such things as prayer and evangelism I had the opportunity to discuss my thoughts with a friend. With his focus on missions, and my experiences recently in New Orleans and Ukraine, the conversation quickly turned to just that, missions. I was trying to express my amazement with how God works through what is commonly called the "Ripple Effect", being the impact that one persons action make, and how that action can be multiplied and reach farther then the intended audience of the ministry. But as those two common words rolled off my tongue it left a bitter aftertaste in my mind.

I think the implications in the imagery of a "Ripple Effect" is severely lacking the beauty found in the nature of God. Ripples are inherently formulaic. If I've learned anything from physics it is that equations can calculate the exact size of each ripple, and each subsequent ripple, based on the volume and velocity of the pebble.

I propose a swift change of this terminology to the "Trickle Effect". Here me out. A trickle is random, unpredictable, even spontaneous. It is ever breaking into smaller trickles only to reunite later, forming bigger more powerful streams. Some streams even break away and re-form the very surface they traverse. Some trickles tapper off and spread out and reach far edges that the main stream could never hope to reach. This is how God works.

In my reflection on New Orleans and Ukraine I can only begin to imagine all the people God has touched, many completely unexpected. A few who have been affected in one way or another: Myself, those affected directly by the actions, teammates, supporters, friends, family, coworkers, fellow students, church members, people who witness the actions first hand, all the stories I share when I get back, people who share the stories... This is a true demonstration of God at work, through the trickle effect.

David Knepprath

Monday, December 11, 2006

Naked Juice and a Good Book

Pretty much the best juice in the world! Go ahead, read the ingredients sometime. Not one drop of water is added and there is a pound of fruit in every bottle of Naked. Beat that Juicy-Juice.

If you follow my reading list much you will notice I have been adding them faster then I am reading them. I just started a book that will put the rest on hold for awhile. It is called Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense by N.T. Wright. This book has struck a chord with me like no book has in a long time.

For the past year I have had a thought bouncing around in my head. I believe that there are certain traits in the very nature of our world that attest to the truths of the Bible. One of the most telling signs is the brokenness of the world we live in and the gut feeling - which none of us can deny - that things are not how they should be. N.T. Wright describes this gut feeling as "echoes of a voice". (You can see my early thoughts on this idea which I attempted to convey in my first post on this blog, Challenge of Happiness.) It is this exact thought that N.T. Wright devotes to the first 1/3 of his book. I have been eating up every word as it adds, clarifies, and solidifies the thoughts and ideas that I have been developing over the last year.

His writing has a very similar feel and power to that of C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity (And that is a HUGE compliment coming from me). I will let you know how high the book as a whole ranks after I have finished.

Why do people long for justice?
Why do we thirst for spirituality?
Why do we long for relationships?
Why does beauty not satisfy us fully?

David Knepprath

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bridgetown Ministries: Nightstrike

This last Friday was the second time I have gone downtown to serve at "Nightstrike". This is just one aspect of a homeless/needy ministry called Bridgetown (Apparently, that is one of the many nicknames for Portland. Hey, I have only lived here for 11 years now). The leaders stress an emphasis on shedding expectation before you go downtown. While I tried to do this to allow the Spirit to guide me in whatever way I could be used, in retrospect, I had even bigger growing experience then my first time serving - which is something I never would have believed possible.

My first time serving I had a conversation with a group of 5-6 individuals, each in different positions in their relationships with God, who were curious why I was out their donating my time with Leon serving them free hot coffee and cocoa (A beautiful thing eh?). I briefly explained about Christs love that is overflowing in my life. One commented on how he respected that, but he knew God could never love him (Who would have thought it could have gotten any better?). From there I shared the Gospel.

Now, my second time down, after I finished washing a couple peoples feet, I spotted one of the individuals in my previous dialog who was more inclined to express a belief in Christ. His name is Kevin, and I was a bit shocked to see him again. The circumstances were completely random, from my blinded earthly perspective, but I felt compelled to follow after him and strike up a conversation. And I did just that, I struck up a conversation that proceeded to last the next 45 minutes. His willingness to follow the spirit and not get caught up with events that seems to thwart our own plans was so convicting. About halfway through, Leon met up with us, and the conversation concluded with me and Leon praying with him. I ask that you pray for Kevin as well. Pray that he can get back on his feet and that the Spirit would continue to open his eyes to the one true God. And also pray that through his solid foundation in Christ, he could be a light to the many other homeless people he interacts with on a daily basis.

Bridgetown is possibly the most exciting and powerful ministry (serving both the needy, and the volunteers) that I have ever been a part of. I plan to keep taking people back every Friday night that I can (including this next Friday the 15th!), feel free to let me know if you are interested. This last time a group from the Latino club came with us and I got the opportunity to bust out my Espanol skills and talk to a guy who didn't speak any English. I am told that my accent is really good for only having taken one term of Spanish. That's the kind of confidence that I definitely do not need while trying to study for my Spanish final, which is tomorrow morning.

Godspeed to all taking finals this week!

Enjoying the celebration of our Saviors birth (and all the food, festivities, and music that it entails),

David Knepprath

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christian Blogger Community?

I received the following email earlier today:
Dear blog author,

We recently came across your site, perpetualanticipation.blogspot.com, while searching for fellow christian bloggers.

A small group of us have started a new site called Christian Bloggers. Our prayer and intent is to bring Christians closer together, and make a positive contribution to the Internet community. While many of us have different "theologies", we all share one true saviour.

Would you be interested in joining Christian Bloggers? Please take a few minutes to have a look at what we are trying to do, and if you are interested, there is a sign up page to get the ball rolling. We would greatly appreciate your support in this endeavour.

May God Bless you and your blogging efforts. We look forward to hearing from you.

Craig Cantin
Christian Bloggers
info@christian-bloggers.com

And here is my reply to Craig:
Dear Craig,

No. I will remain in the regular bloggersphere so that I can continue to reach and interact with the world I live in. How are Christians supposed to positively impact the internet community if we sever ourselves from it.

I will not shut myself in a box by immersing myself in a Christian subculture thereby rendering myself completely useless to reach the very people who need our Savior's message of peace, hope, and salvation.

Thanks, but no thanks.

For His Glory,
David Knepprath

Monday, December 04, 2006

Snowshoeing

I've been wanting to get into snowshoeing the last couple winters but have never had the opportunity. It's cheap, it's a good work, it's fun, and it is a beautiful way to enjoy God's majestic creation.

Mt. Hood rising proudly over the frozen Trillium Lake

If anyone ever wants to go, just let me know!

This week feels relaxing after last weeks AIDS Awareness Week despite the fact that I'm preparing for finals next week. I consider last week a smashing success. It gave our club the opportunity to interact with hundreds of students on campus as well as raising $657 (which blew away even my most optimistic expectations).

Have a blessed week!

David Knepprath

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

AIDS Awareness Week Update

Here's a couple quick pic's from 2 of our 3 tables we have up for AIDS Awareness Week tables, which I am organizing through Campus Crusade For Christ.

The recently engaged Josiah working his magic selling raffle tickets in the Vista Dining Hall:

Three girls from the Latino Club (Pretty much the best raffle ticket saleswomen I have ever seen!) and Joe in the Library Lobby:

I'll try and put up a closing thoughts post this weekend.

In Him,
David Knepprath

Monday, November 27, 2006

AIDS Awareness Week

Well its finally here. After much prayer and scrambling to pull things together over the last 2 months, on top of everything else, it has finally come together. Please keep the volunteers and the MHCC campus in your prayers as we raise donations (through raffling off an iPod) for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative the rest of the week. This is an awesome opportunities to represent Christ in a positive way that challenges peoples preconceived notions of "Christian's". How everything pieced together from the tables displays, to the fliers, to the enthusiasm of volunteers (even from other clubs!), and even the willingness of those on campus to respond to the need has blown me away. I hope to have more information and pictures up at the end of the week.

Hope you have a great week, mine is going to fly by!

For His Glory,
David Knepprath

P.S. It's snowing!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Four Months Later

To all who supported me (no matter what form that support took) in Ukraine,

This letter has been many months in the work. It has been very hard for me to write this, not because of the lack of a desire to, or because of the lack of words. On the contrary, it is a direct result of the flood of emotions, thoughts, and stories that come rushing out and overwhelm my finger tips every time I attempt to compose this. It is only now, with classes in full swing, work, my student government position, and getting the ministry rolling on campus that I realize the urgency in getting this letter finished.

As I sit and write this letter after reflecting in the months following my trip to Ukraine, I am also preparing a presentation for Grace Lutheran Grade School. I have been blessed with many opportunities to share about God’s work in Ukraine. Through my reflection when I share, I some how continue to learn more and more, with this letter not being an exception.

In my weeks after returning from Ukraine, I became a sponge, listening and reading to how God was working in different ways all over the world. I jumped at the opportunity to hear stories ranging from Slovenia to Mexico, from Lithuania to Alaska, and from Czech to Lebanon. At one particular preparation meeting for a Lithuania mission team, which left for two years in September, they spoke on contrast of the spiritual dryness in Lithuania to rumors they had heard of a spiritual revival in Germany, Poland, and, of all places, Ukraine. Being back in the States for only a couple weeks, I put this statement into my perspective of having just done mission work in Ukraine. I can honestly say that there is much more then a rumor. There is a movement in Ukraine; a glorious movement in which the younger generations are outwardly seeking to know truth and God. This creates a mission field open and ripe for the harvest, but also lurking in these open fields are ravaging wolves (Matthew 7:15).

I had a stark reminder of this fact on my second to last day teaching VBS. We were driving the bustling pedestrian laden streets of Ivano-Frankivsk when out of the crowd I spotted two clean cut young men wearing black slacks, white button up shirts, with a book of Mormon in their hand and a spare tucked securely in their pocket. I knew they were here on their two year mission, and I was finishing up my measly two weeks. This was absolutely heart breaking after witnessing first hand how ripe the field is in Ukraine. Not only do we fight man’s natural fallen depravity towards God, but we face Satan, the masquerading “angel of light” whose “… servants masquerade as servants of righteousness." (2 Corinthians 11:15) But we do have hope, actually a whole lot more than just hope; we have the awesome power of the Holy Spirit on our side.

One of my favorite stories to share is a demonstration of how the Holy Spirit worked in revolutionary ways in the hearts of the kids. Many of the kids came into VBS not even knowing basic Bible Stories. The first couple days I had trouble prodding deeper with my questions. I’ll admit the language barrier and the lack of a consistent translator added to the frustrations, but by the third day of VBS the Holy Spirit had already opened their hearts and minds. They started to understand spiritual concepts and it wasn’t long before their curiosity was piqued. They were the ones prodding with deeper questions, or in some cases, answering with deeper answers than what I was expecting. I felt as if I was watching my class walk on the road to Emmaus with Jesus as he was opening their eyes to Scripture. (Luke 24:13-35)

The Holy Spirit was working in these kids’ hearts over the course of VBS, but now VBS is but a faint summer memory in their mind. I hope I have been successful in conveying to you my excitement and the real ways that our Lord was working in Ukraine. That through this you could be like Paul praying for his brothers in Christ at Colosse (Colossians 1:9), and pray my prayer with me for our brothers in Ukraine. I pray that the Holy Spirit is finding ways to continue to seek them in their lives, to bring them to a real relationship with Christ their Savior, and continue and inject what they learned into their daily lives. In their schools, among their friends and peers, it will be hard for them to not just look at VBS as another week of their lives and continue on with their hearts unchanged. I continue to pray the same prayer that I wrote on my Oregon postcards that I gave to each of the kids. Above all I pray each and everyone of them will continue to know Jesus Christ as their Savior, but also (in a region where religion is predominantly no more than mere traditions and rituals, where God is nothing more than a mystical impersonal being who will grant you good luck if you buy icons or light candles in their overtly ornate cathedrals.) that they would know Jesus as their friend.

I thank God for allowing me to share in this experience with so many of you. And I thank each and every one of you for your support in all their various avenues that overflowed with abundance.

For Christ’s Glory,

David Knepprath

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Major Blog Milestone

My blog has officially reached new heights.

Thanks to "Perpetual Anticipation" I have at long last dethroned the "David Knepprath", whose claim to fame is making t-shirts out of his kitchen, of his seemingly insurmountable reign in the fiercely competitive cyber space name ranking. Consequently, this has also pushed "David Knepprath" the not-so-well-known hockey player (Never mind the fact that he plays for the Chicago Gay Hockey Association. Who knew such a thing even existed?) even further down in his cyber status.

I know, I have tough competition. But it's true! Go ahead, Google my name.

DK

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Confession

I have a shameful confession to make.

My brother brought home a stack of pre-release Christmas albums this weekend. After flipping through the pile I spotted a song by David Crowder. After importing a few albums into iTunes I...*deep breath*...listened to Christmas music.

DK

Thursday, October 26, 2006

You know a piece of you is still in Ukraine when...

...Your mom leaves out dinner and you put away the sour cream after generously smothering it on the bowl of fresh vegetables only then to realize halfway through eating that the sour cream was left out for the baked potatoes.

DK

P.S. No one better bug me, I am catching up on Lost after tragically missing it last night.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Deja Vu

I got excited after finally seeing the trailer for the movie we saw being filmed way back in March.

Its not simply the fact that we were there when they were filming the movie, there is a quite elaborate inside joke about Val Kilmer that took place as well.

Anyhow, here are some of our pictures of the boat and the bridge which get a lot of airtime in the trailer. (The last picture is courtesy of the Corban College team)









































The movie doesn't look half bad either and at the very least, the music is by Harry Gregson-Williams.

DK

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Life 10/15/06

Dinner with a Ukrainian family, hearing C.J. Coffee (aka. Cookie) speak, watching a movie with good friends, Ultimate Frisbee, finally getting over my cold, things shaking up at my families church (Definitely a good thing in my opinion), busting out a bunch of homework that has piled up, Chris Tomlins new album really starting to grow on me, and Mark Driscoll's book (The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out) nearly within grasp of my anxiously awaiting hands.

As soon as I get past two big exams on Wednesday...Life is good.

DK

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Coffee!

Here is another "entertaining" paper from my Psychology class. Also, notice the "tags" at the end of the post. I am working on learning a set structure on how to tag my posts. I'm trying to keep them general topics that will lead you to similar posts if you found something that interests you. For example, when I am doing a series of posts like this, they will have a unique tag (in this case "Psychology Paper") so that you can easily pull up the rest of the series if you so desire. (Examples of other common tags are "Spirituality", "Movie Reviews", "Ukraine", "Book Reviews", "Missions", "News" etc.)

Coffee!

Operant conditioning, so named by psychologist B. F. Skinner, is the modification of behavior brought about over time by the consequences of said behavior. The phrase operant conditioning differs from Pavlovian conditioning in that while operant conditioning deals with voluntary behavior explained by its consequences, Pavlovian conditioning deals with involuntary behavior triggered by its antecedents. The two main aspects of operant conditioning is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when a response is strengthened by the subsequent presentation of a stimulus while a negative reinforcement is when a response is strengthened by the subsequent removal of a noxious stimulus.

After working 40+ hour weeks in an office/cubicle setting, I got hooked on Coffee. Not addictively, but more or less as a result of my environment. My team at work often goes down to the cafe to get coffee, so I casually picked it up for social reasons. When college started up with 15 credits and I continued to work 30 hour weeks, on top of working out at the gym, church related activities, and still hanging by threads to my social life - something had to give. Unfortunately, I was far from willing to let go of any of these. It was at this point that I went from being a casual social coffee drinker to a fanatically coffee junkie.

Many would chalk this sad story up to be another soul lost to the addictive caffeinated properties of this black poison, but while I am not denying these properties of Java, under the surface I am really a case of operant conditioning. The behavior that was being increased was the consumption of Go Juice. This behavior was strengthened through a series of positive and negative reinforcements.

If I drank a Cup of Jolt I could function as a normal student, be involved, grow, and learn. This was thereby positively reinforced with good grades, enjoyment of life, and a sense of satisfaction. If I did not drink my I would have an extremely tough time trying to stay awake in my cubicle at work. In my comfy chair, I would throw on some headphones, zone out to some Jars of Clay, and consequently start to nod off in front of the monitor. Although I was never reprimanded for this inexcusable behavior, the fear and worry to know that if I was caught was a very strong negative reinforcement in and of itself.

I was also finding it very hard to accomplish any form of homework. Without my Liquid Lightening I would get home after a day of class, work, and any other activities that day and crash. My eye lids would be so brick laden and my body was so syphoned of energy that I would eat dinner and collapse in bed.

The last example, much like the previous two, is somewhat of a mix between positive and negative reinforcement. Shouldering the schedule that I was, I realized my Morning Thunder was key to grasping on to threads that were left connecting me to some distant skewed form of a social life. My positive reinforcement was simply being able to hang out with friends after work, as opposed to just going home and crashing in bed. This leads to the negative reinforcement aspect. If I didn’t get my daily Brewtus, I ended up getting socially depressed which led me back to coffee so I could live a quasi-normal life again.
David Knepprath
February 2, 2006

Note: My addiction is not limited to coffee. It very much so includes tea, which I prefer in many cases. However, I focused solely on coffee because of peoples preconceived notions about coffee, as well as for the simplicity of the paper.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hot Showers

The last time I was sick and took a shower, I was in Kiev, Ukraine staying in a hostel-esque ex-communist youth camp with ice cold water. I woke up this morning with a pretty bad sore throat, and NEVER have I ever been so thankful for a hot shower.

I cannot believe I am still learning and still growing from my experience in Ukraine.

DK

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life Rushes On

My "summer" (if you call working 40+ hours a week, a summer) came to a swift conclusion on Friday, but I wouldn't have spent it any other way! I got the opportunity to see one of the greatest bands ever, the David Crowder Band (Third Day was there too...meh), with three of the greatest people I know! I have been living life in fast forward every since.

Running on 4 hours of sleep, after a late night at Denny's following the show, I went to Menucha Resorts for a MHCC student government retreat (for my Senate position). It was an experience to be sure. There is nothing else I would rather be doing on at a resort that is completely immersed in the beauty of God's creation then studying the College's Constitution and By-laws and brainstorming for the upcoming school year, which after 2 days I am already fully entrenched in.

With only another measly 4 hours of sleep on Saturday night, I got home from the retreat Sunday evening only to start classes bright an early Monday morning. The diamond in this gruelling rough is that the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry at MHCC is officially in full swing. In the first two days of Welcome Week our table has received an awesome response! Even more awesome then the response, has been the support from all of those in the club to overwhelmingly help out and pitch in whenever they can! There are no requirment or expectactions with a club, a club is only as successful and effective as the members are involved. I can't help thinking about about Paul's greeting in his letter to the people of Philippi. "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:3-6)

At the same time, I am extremely excited for my classes. After the second day, I am already finding it rewarding to be learning a new language, being Spanish. It should round me out better after taking four years of German in high school. My intro to education class should also give me some very good guidance in making a decision on how I should use my passion for teaching.

My apologizes if you are disappointed that updates don't come as frequently as they used to. Its a fact of life now that there are mysteriously far less then 24 hours in a day.

In Him,
David Knepprath

You are more beautiful
Than anyone ever
Everyday You're the same
You never change, no never

And how could I ever deny
The love of my Savior
You are to me everything
All I need forever

How could You be so good to me?

-David Crowder Band

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Biased by Omission

I have a correction to make in my review of the World Trade Center movie. I had the following change of heart after visiting some of the ol' high school teachers at Sam Barlow. Specifically, I got the chance to catch up with was one of my favorite Brit's, Mr. Corkett, my senior year AP European History teacher. I congratulated him and his country on a job well done for preventing the terrorist attack. Little did I know he was in England during the whole fiasco. Knowing it was inevitable, the conversation turned to politics. And, as with any good History teacher, the topic of politics turned to the age old dilemma of the shortness in memory that is so intrinsically human. Specifically, in reference to 9/11, to which he brought up the aforementioned Oliver Stone movie.

I said how the movie is praised for being "unbiased" and for the "lack of political ulterior motives". Those who know Corkett would not be surprised to hear he responded to this with a jolly laugh. This peaked my curiosity, because I was convinced I had thoroughly analyzed the contents of the movie (I am so naive, and I'll be the first to admit it).

After discussing the contents of the movie we concluded it is considered "unpolitical" because it does not discuss the terrorists, or how we did/should have responded to the attack. Then it clicked, a bias it not solely dependent on the contents but also by the contents it is lacking. It is by this very omission that Oliver Stone made it an inherently biased movie. 9/11 is an event that demonstrated the evil capabilities of militant Islam and the imminent danger they poise to the rest of the world. Portraying a story of the attack on the World Trade Centers while neglecting to mention the terrorist who committed the act is nothing less then the truth shamelessly skewed.

Have doubts about the hostility and danger that militant Islam poses? In response to Pope Benedict XVI's speech, in which he tried to reach out to Islam while mentioning that in the the past they were thought of as evil and inhuman, five churches were firebombed in the West Bank and one in Iraq. It doesn't stop there, on September 17 a 65 year old Catholic nun, who devoted her life to helping and teaching the sick in Somalia, was shot in the back 4 times by gun wielding Muslim attackers. While I do not believe such actions speak for all of Islam; in reference to militant Islam, I think Ed Morrissey stated it very well here:

"What should influence Europeans and the West is this repetition of the Prophet Cartoons ugliness all over again. The Muslims are not interested in a Socratic dialogue, such as the kind proposed by Benedict in his speech, if one actually bothered to read it. They completely reject any notion of critical thinking when it comes to their doctrines, their laws, and their beliefs. They can make all the comments they want about Jews being descended from pigs and monkeys and the "polytheism" of Christians, but if anyone utters a word of scholarly criticism about Islam, the murders begin until someone admits that Islam is better than any other faith. This drips with irony -- because Benedict spoke about precisely this impulse in his speech. It's conversion or submission by the sword all over again."

A year ago, news of these events would of made my blood boil. It would of filled me with rage and hatred - that people could commit such horrendous acts. But something has happened in my heart over the course of the last year. On the contrary, these acts renew my enthusiasm to show love and compassion. One of the most basic teachings of Christianity is to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), to show love in the face of hatred. And yet it is these simplest teachings that are the hardest to follow with your heart. I was at the Portland Metro Campus Crusade for Christ conference on Saturday and one of the speakers said something that really hits home to this topic. By "practicing what I preach" and striving to not be a hypocrites (although, I am afraid I always will be), I am giving Jesus Christ credibility through how I live my life. We can make Jesus Christ real to those around us who see our actions. Hebrew 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

David Knepprath

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Jack Bauer

I know I swung a few low blows at 24 in my last couple posts. However, I do think it is a decent show. The only other show I watch on TV, actually.

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In hopes to smooth out any tension I might have created by my scathing remarks, here is a compilation of my favorite Jack Bauer jokes (If you think have seen them before, you should see a few new ones tossed in here and there). Enjoy:

  • If everyone on "24" followed Jack Bauer's instructions, it would be called "12".
  • If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he'd shoot Nina twice.
  • Once, someone tried to tell Jack Bauer a "knock knock" joke. Jack Bauer found out who was there, who they worked for, and where the bomb was.
  • Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.
  • Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.
  • When life gave Jack Bauer lemons, he used them to kill terrorists.
  • There have been no terrorist attacks in United States since Jack Bauer has appeared on television.
  • American Idol is only popular because it has a commercial for 24.
  • Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.
  • Jack Bauer once won a game of Connect 4 in 3 moves.
  • Jack Bauer sleeps with a pillow under his gun.
  • Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.
  • Jack Bauer is the leading cause of death in Middle Eastern men.
  • Jack Bauer could strangle you with a cordless phone.
  • In 96 hours, Jack Bauer has killed 93 people and saved the world 4 times.
  • Jack Bauer doesn't speak any foreign languages, but he can make any foreigner speak English in a matter of minutes.
  • Jack Bauer arm once wrestled Superman. The stipulations were the loser had to wear his underwear on the outside of his pants.
  • When Jack Bauer goes to the airport and the metal detector doesn't go off, security gives him a gun.
  • When Google can't find something, it asks Jack Bauer for help.
  • Jack Bauer once killed so many terrorists that at one point, the #5 CIA Most Wanted fugitive was an 18-year-old teenager in Malaysia who downloaded the movie Dodgeball.
  • Jack Bauer teaches a course at Harvard entitled: "Time Management: Making the Most Out Of Each Day."
  • Jack Bauer can get McDonald's breakfast after 10:30.
  • When Batman is in trouble, he turns on the Jack Bauer signal.
  • Jack Bauer is the 'i' in team.
  • When Jack Bauer was a child, he made his mother finish his vegetables.
  • Jack Bauer got Hellen Keller to talk.
  • When the boogie man goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Jack Bauer.
  • The Black Eyed Peas were just The Peas until Jack Bauer heard their music.
  • G.I. Joe has Jack Bauer action figures.
  • Finding Nemo would have been vastly more exciting had Jack Bauer been looking for him.
  • Jack Bauer can hit two birds with no stones.
  • Jack Bauer once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink.
  • Jack Bauer can divide by zero.
  • It is a known fact that when Time magazine awards "The Man of Year*", there is fine print on the bottom of the cover that says, " *besides Jack Bauer."
  • If Jack and MacGyver were locked in a room together, Jack would make a bomb out of MacGyver and get out.
  • Jack Bauer makes onions cry.

David Knepprath

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lost in Argument

I know Dan talks himself up to be your savior from the chains of slavery that watching Lost will bind you in. I know this frankness and confidence can be extremely persuasive. Believe it or not, you are free to watch whatever show you please. Watch a couple episodes (if it is Lost you are trying out, I suggest you start at the beginning), if you do/don't like it, no one has the right to prevent/force you to watch it. I watch Lost because of its brilliant blend of mystery, complexity, philosophy, consistency (I threw that one in there just for you, Dan), action, drama and intrigue.

Now, I thought my comprehensive Lost history lesson (I know, I have officially been raised to "Lost nerdom" status) was enough, but it appears that some of it went right over peoples heads. This is probably better anyhow. Dan has clarified his arguments, so can address each point for point in a very clear format.

It is also worth noting (although, I figured this was common sense), that because this show actually progresses at a decent speed, it doesn't document every minute of every day. There are conceivably events, and and maybe even whole conversations, that we as viewers are not aware of.

First of all, David spent most of his post making points that are totally irrelevant to my argument.

You say my post was irrelevant to your arguments, but all of my rebuttals to your arguments which you claim were unaddressed are taken straight from my last post. I admit, there was a lot to swallow in that post, so I won't hold it against you. Hopefully this format will be more clear for you, or maybe I should spread my defense of a single argument out over an entire season?

The brutal inconsistency in David's post is when he says that no one has seen anything beyond flashing lights and hieroglyphics. Desmond saw and experienced much more than this in the flashback.

Locke and Henry had experienced more then just "lights and hieroglyphics". I will ask you again, are you sure you didn't miss a couple episodes?

Desmond saw and experienced much more than this in the flashback. For heaven's sake, are we forgetting the magnetic field that brought down the plane?!

I know this is confusing Dan, there are a lot of flashbacks you have to keep straight, but there is indeed a time when Desmond does not know the full consequences of pressing the button late (This should be made more clear in my next answer).

And when it starts happening again to Locke and Desmond, do we see Desmond saying, "It's okay, this happened before." No! He jets down to turn the emergency switch! It makes no sense.

Your memory is foggy on this event as well. Desmond flips through the computer log printout found in "The Pearl", at which point he does realize that something happens (something MORE then just the chaos within the hatch) when you don't press the button, that he was responsible for bringing down the plane the day that he entered the code late. It is at this point he does try and stop Locke only to have Locke in his irrational confused state of mind destroy the computer. In Lost's typical manner, we still don't know the complete consequence of the code not being entered, because it is at this point that Desmond "jets down" to activate the emergency switch. Groovy?

Dan, I will be having Lost night at my house this year (if you want to watch it in all of it's High Definition glory), you are more then welcome over.

DK

P.S. I am not going to deny conceivable inconsistency's in Lost plot line, but this is to be expected with such a complex story. But, I honestly believe this is not one of them. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lost: Seeds of Doubt

It's official, sides have been chosen, the battle lines have been drawn, let the Lost blog wars begin!

A so called inconsistency in the plot of what is now commonly known as one of the best TV shows ever (feel free to skim through the lengthy list of awards it has racked up in only 2 seasons) has been brought to my attention. I have been a loyal Lost viewer, turned fanatic, since I got hooked on episode 3 (I originally laughed Lost off as a cheesy show who's only draw was "a bunch of 'pretty people' running around on a beach"). I can understand why Lost is not for everyone. The complexity of building back stories for numerous characters, as many as 14 in one season, and brilliantly intertwining them is no simple undertaking for the casual viewer to digest. I understand why many would prefer a show that takes an entire season to explain the events of a single day. I feel it is necessary to defend Lost in the face of those who would like to smear its name.

WARNING: This is chock full of spoilers if you haven't watched Season 2 yet. Also worth noting in this warning, if you could care less about Lost, then don't
waste your time. The following is really only meant for one person, but those interested in Lost might enjoy the analysis as well.

The following is a condensed form of a valid (if not a bit naive) argument given by a certain 24 fanatic who, for one reason or another, feels threatened by Lost.

The writers of Lost were so surprised by the success of their show that is seems as if they are saying "Wow, our show is a big hit! We didn't really expect this. Now we have to actually make these plot lines go somewhere." The most obvious form of these inconsistency's is summed up at the end of season 2 in relation to the consequence of not pressing the button. When Desmond returns to the island he knows through his experiences, and in turn should have told Locke that not pushing the button will "make the island explode" (if not blow up the world). So why did he not take a stand when Locke commits himself to preventing the button from being pressed?

However, there are far more holes in this arguments t
hen there are unanswered questions in Lost. I think it is time for a history lesson.

The first event (In chronological order, not the order revealed) that relates to this argument is when Desmond is manning "The Swan" (The hatch with the computer and the button that must be pressed every 108 minutes to "save the world") with Kelvin. Desmond returns to the hatch in a state of panic after
smashing Kelvins head on the rocks only to find havoc being wrecked as the countdown has ticked past 108 minutes. He quickly enters the code and everything goes back to normal. Because of this fact, many seem to think it implies that Desmond should know that not pressing the button will "make the island explode".

On a loosely related tangent, it is important to understand first that the consequence of not entering the code does not have to be black and white. There is no reason to believe it will either do absolutely nothing (with no magnetic effects what-so-ever) or that it will destroy the island, and maybe even the world. If you view it that way, you are only considering th
e possibilities that we have been led to believe in the show up to this point (I'll touch back on this later when I talk more about Hanso and "The Pearl").

After this event, Desmond bails the island leaving the responsibility of "saving the world" in the hands of Locke and the rest of the passengers of flight #815. They devoutly press the button every 108 minutes, until one occasion when Locke is delayed. He presses the button late and witnesses the same events (numbers turn to red hieroglyphics, shaking walls, loud noises, magnetic activity, and various other climatic effects.) that Desmond witnessed when he entered the code late. So now Locke, also, should know that not pressing the button will "make the island explode". Locke becomes even more committed to his job, until one such Henry Gale comes along.

A very key event that must be remembered is that Henry Gale (a captured "Other"), at one point, was responsible for pressing the button and then saving Lockes life. When Henry recounts these events to Locke, after his true identity has been revealed, he says that he never pressed the button (SHOCKING!), that the clock ran down, some red hieroglyphics were shown, then things got scary, he heard crashing sounds, magnetic fields were at work, the walls started shaking, and then after all this...nothing happened. Desmond, Locke, and Henry are all on the same page, with only Henry claiming to have experienced what happens after all the ruckus. This plants a seed of doubt into Lockes head.

This seed of doubt is watered and nurtured and finally takes roots with the discovery of "The Pearl", another hatch on the island. This hatch is much different then the one the crew of flight #815 had found. It is simply an observation post, for observing those in "The Swan". Every last move of those in who are in "The Swan" is documented. It is merely a psychological test (or so it appears to Locke), and here in lies the turn of the screw (A good book, but a book also not so ironically left on display for us viewers in the hatch). They are rats in some sick twisted B.F. Skinner-esque experiment in behaviourism to see how long they will enter a code every 108 minutes before they snap.

It is at this point that Locke realizes, and becomes convinced that he (not I, Dan) has been duped. He is committed to let the counter run down. (Why couldn't the Hanso foundation have installed a mechanism to "wreck havoc" if the code is entered late, to add to the reality of the psychological experiment?) It is at this point that our Scottish friend Desmond washes back up on the island.

Desmond, a desperate man in love, finally found hope in his once thought lost sailboat to reunite him with his long lost love. But, after 2 weeks of sailing, he finds himself right back on the island. He drinks him self senseless and has lost all hope. At one point he exclaims they will never be rescued, we are stuck in a "bloody snowglobe". This is a man with no reason to live, who spent 3 years of his life entering a code every 108 minutes thinking he was saving the world. It in this state that Locke recruits him after revealing his discovery that it is all a psychological experiment. (I would be pretty curious after pressing that button so many times what actually does happen. And if you have no reason to live, what better time to find out?)

Up to this point, no one has seen anything more then the events that Henry Gale supposedly witnessed, after which he stated nothing would happen. Then things get interesting. Locke and Desmond bunker down in the computer room to let the countdown run out, and it is in these last few desperate minutes that Desmond flips through the computer printout found in "The Pearl" and realizes that something does happen when you don't press the button, that he was responsible for bringing down the plane the day he entered the code late. It is at this point he does try and stop Locke only to have Locke destroy the computer. In Lost's typical manner, we still don't know the complete consequence of the code not being entered, because Desmond uses the key to activate the "emergency termination".

(Dan, did you miss an episode or two? It almost seems like you might of, so hopefully this clears some things up for you. But Lost obviously rubs you the wrong way, for one reason or another. Its up to you if you want to watch the show or not, all I ask is that you stop smearing Lost's name without a legitimate cause.)

Maybe I got a little bit carried away there, but this ongoing argument has given me the opportunity to nit-pick the finer details of Lost, and reacquaint myself with the Lost "world" in time for the season 3 premier on October 4th!. It also just goes to show how complex and intricate Lost really is, that I can delve this much into a single aspect of Lost! That us why I love this show!

It is rumored it will focus much more on the "Others" and how they play into the story. My only warning to you, if you are going to watch Lost, you must understand the commitment entails watching every episode. Otherwise, you will get frustrated because you will get lost very easily. I will do my best to help explain the show as I sort through it myself here on my blog.

Your Local Lost Fanatic,
David Knepprath

P.S. Thanks a lot Dan. You made me spend the better part of my day at work writing my longest post ever on a TV show!...pathetic.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Hobbit

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After yesterdays somewhat somber post, I thought some of you might enjoy a little bit of joyful news! The Hobbit is in the works! It is being done by MGM and not New Line, and they haven't secured Peter Jackson as director yet, and we will be seeing Prince Caspian long before this ever hits theaters. BUT, it is in the works!!!

DK

Monday, September 11, 2006

"What We Saw"

I will repeat my sentiments that I wrote as news of the thwarted terrorist attack unfolded on August 10th 2006(Warning Shot), and that I reiterated in my review of The World Trade Center movie (I would recommend this 30 minute video over the 129 minutes of the World Trade Center movie if you want to save the money). It is never too early for a reminder. The human mind loves to find comfort in complacency, but there are too many evils at work in our broken world to live our lives blindly to the danger that we face.

This video is a 30 minute unedited video of what Bob and Bri saw out the window of their home 500 yards from the north tower on the morning of September 11th 2001.




God Bless,
David Knepprath

Friday, September 08, 2006

HansoExposed

Looks like ABC is already starting to build excitement for Season 3 of Lost with another puzzle website. http://hansoexposed.com/

Thanks to the thousands of loyal Lost fanatics that have already cracked the codes, you can watch the latest fragment on youtube.



Those of you who followed Lost in Season 2 probably remember the "fake" commercials for the The Hanso Foundation (A fictional company which is also an integral part of the plot) that were aired during Lost. Each week the commercials gave hints to solve online puzzles which revealed more clues and tid bits about the show. I hadn't realized they had continued this even after the season ended.

ABC has utilized, and mastered, this form of viral marketing through fictional websites that tie into the Lost "world" with great success. The immersion factor is amazing!

DK

P.S. Come October 4th you will probably be seeing the occasional post about Lost. :) Oh, by the way, Season 2 is out on DVD if you need to catch up.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Eastern Orthodox Cross

Pastor Romanuik from Ivano-Frankivsk will get a kick out of this post because he knows how much I loved the symbolism of the Eastern Orthodox cross after he explained it to me.

The Eastern Cross, recognizable as the cross used by most Eastern and Russian Orthodox Church's, is distinctive in form from other crosses used by Christian's. This, also being on of the most distinct images of the Orthodox Faith, is the three-barred cross that rests high upon the onion domes of Eastern European cathedrals and is sold as an icon's at the churches themselves. It is a distinctly recognizable design with its slanted lower third bar and top horizontal bar built on the foundation of the Latin Cross.

The standard Latin Cross, with its vertical bar crossed two-thirds of the way to the top by a single horizontal beam is, in its most basic form, representative of the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus. For this reason the symbolism of the cross is both sorrowful and supremely beautiful as it portrays Jesus perfect sacrifice for our salvation. The Eastern Orthodox Cross builds on this with the topmost bar which lies directly above the bar to which Christs arms were affixed.

The tradition of adding the shorter horizontal beam to the upper region of the cross is not widely debated as is the meaning of its slanted lower counterpart. This topmost bar is representative of the plaque bearing Pontius Pilates inscription written in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, "Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews" (Luke 23:38). The letters INRI typically placed on this beam are derived from the Latin which reads, "Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum".

There are many varied accounts concerning the meaning and origin of the slanted lower bar present on the Orthodox Cross. In early forms from Byzantium, this lower bar appeared perpendicular to the vertical bar. This is believed to have been a representation of the footstool that may or may not have been present on the cross of Jesus crucifixion and onto which Christs feet were nailed. There are many possible interpretations and inferences as to the origin of the slanted bar in the cross. Among all the theories, the oldest and most common symbolism is from an eleventh century tradition. This tradition is also the reason for my excitement, which you may or may not share.

Legend holds that the slant symbolizes a scale of balance. The thief crucified to Jesus right found salvation at the end of his life and would ascend to heaven, while the thief on the left, who rejects Jesus, would descend downwards to hell (Luke 23:39-43). Thus in this interpretation, Christ and the Cross isn't simply a symbol of a sacrifice, but also a balance of justice. While the traditional Latin Cross portrays the price Jesus paid for each and everyone of our sins, the addition of the slanted bar conveys the consequence, the resulting possible redemption because of Jesus crucifixion. It completes the story.

A tad bit of history that I uncovered in my research, which probably interests you even less then what you have read up until now, is The Cross of St. Constantine, which resides within the monastery of Vatopedi on Mt. Athos in Greece. This seemingly insignificant cross is of the three-barred barred variety. It was hidden during the tenth century from Arab invaders and said by legend to be that of the monastery's original founder which predates the adoption of St. Andrew as the patron saint of Russia. If this is the case, then the origin of the slant in the Eastern Cross is not of Russian descent, but is instead Greek. Scandalous!

David Knepprath

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Prayer Works

I finished reading Prayer Works about a week ago, but delayed in posting the review until after doing a writeup on God's Smuggler. I was struggling writing about this book without continually explaining elements of the authors background which is documented in God's Smuggler. So, I encourage you to read my review of God's Smuggler before continuing.

Prayer Works (Previously titled "And God Changed His Mind", in reference to Moses powerful prayer in Exodus 32) by Brother Andrew is a book about exactly what the title would imply. I came into this book extremely excited for two reasons. Originally, because I have been searching for a deeper understanding of Prayer, but also as a result of another book, God's Smuggler, which I read and loved by the same author. The former excitement was thoroughly satisfied with an extremely comprehensive and thorough look at every aspect of prayer with a wealth of scripture references (A big red flag shoots up whenever I read a book meant for spiritual growth that doesn't reference scripture frequently). In most cases the text of verses are embedded, but you'll still probably want to have a Bible handy for this one. My second excitement was in some ways crushed, but in many ways misguided in the first place.

What I found to be the most intriguing and impactful aspect of God's Smuggler was his utter and complete dependence and reliance on God. So what could be better then to see into the mind of this man and see how he views prayer? Prayer works is not the most compelling read, being the reason for my disappointment, but it is meant to be more of a study then a story and I would recommend it to anyone seeking an understanding of prayer. However, Brother Andrew does include many anecdotes of stories he has witnessed, both first hand and through his interactions with others such as Corrie Ten Boom, through his amazing life dedicated to the work of God. His focus on foreign missions does not distract from the focus in that it is still extremely applicable to anyone no matter what your walk of life is.

In the same order that I reviewed these two Brother Andrew books, I would also encourage you to read them in that order. In many ways Prayer Works is a reflection on the decades of work God has used Brother Andrew and his organization Open Doors to accomplish in, but not limited to, the once spiritually desolate, dry, and closed land of eastern Europe.

We are called to be thermostats in the world, not thermometers of the world! Think about it, and then read this book.

David Knepprath

Colossians 4:2-3 "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message..."

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bowling Somersault

So there's this new craze on YouTube, something about "Freestyle Bowling". Okay, maybe not quite, but maybe there will be after a few people watch this short, fuzzy, camera phone quality video that was recorded when we went bowling last Friday. I'm the hand off man, and my friend Bobby from MHCC is the one pulling off the somersault.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ivano-Frankivsk Pictures

*I'm having some formatting issues, and I am too tired to fix it right now.*

It has been awhile since I have posted Ukraine pictures. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Ivano-Frankivsk, where I spent the better part of my time in Ukraine.

Classic building fronts in downtown Ivano-Frankivsk.










Ivano-Frankivsk's beautiful gold onion domed Cathedral.









Ivano-Frankivsk School of Medicine.












WWII Memorial (and stray dog). The memorial is to honor prisoners (some of whom were arrested for stealing bread to provide for their family, and in even more extreme cases, simply for preaching the Gospel) that were slaughtered at the hands of their own countries military when the Soviet Union was retreating western Ukraine from the Germans.





Lake near where I stayed in Ivano-Frankivsk.

















Apartments in Ivano-Frankivsk.




















Can you at least begin to understand why I would love to still be in Ukraine?

Please pray for Tiana Weaver. She is heading to Lithuania for 2 years and needs to have in the rest of her support by this Friday or else she will have to leave later, seperately from the rest of the team. Team unity is extremely important in this respect, but God's plan is so much greater then ours.

David Knepprath

Tar Under My Fingernails and Jars of Clay In My Ears

How do I spend my Saturday's? Shingling a house from 8:00am to 9:00pm in 90+ degree weather, that's how! Fun stuff, eh? My brother, Steven (left), is moving into his new house (new to him, it's actually over 100 years old) in Philomath Oregon, just outside of Corvallis.

I had a realization when I was up there on the roof flinging hot sticky tar smothered shingles. I realized that I always benchmark physical labor, and any bodily suffering that may follow, to the high standard set in New Orleans. As a result, I rarely have anything to complain about.

Speaking of New Orleans, my brother had a few friends helping, one of whom was another David (right). He was in New Orleans with Crusade the same week I was down there. David went with his younger brother on the PSU team. I also found out that his brother is still sporting the red ribbon (more of a light pink now) from the camp. This makes 4 individuals (that I know of), including myself, who are stilling representing N'Awlins.

You can see the ribbon in this picture from Ukraine. I love it! I have been looking awhile now for a reason to post it. I really liked, and miss, the fresh breads.

Oh, by the way, I have the new Jars of Clay album, Good Monsters. You know, the one that doesn't come out until September 5th. :) Songs such as "Dead Man", "Work", and "Good Monsters" are a drastic change from their more relaxing melodic work on Who We Are Instead, but their new sound has really grown on me. The album includes a pretty good mix of styles. There are still a few songs from the Jars of Clay that I have come to know and love with tracks like "There Is a River", "Oh My God", and "Surprise". A trio of stellar quest artist take Jars of Clay to new heights; Kate York in "Even Angels Cry", the amazing Leigh Nash in "Mirrors and Smoke", and (in line with Jars of Clay African Blood Water Mission) the African Children's Choir in "Light Gives Heat". I approve.

David Knepprath

2 Peter 1:5-8 So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NLT)

Friday, August 25, 2006

God's Smuggler

You can expect to start seeing reviews of books that I read, or if I feel so inclined, reviews of books that I have read in the past. This is one such case, being that I read this book almost 6 months ago. I found it necessary to touch back on this book first as I was trying to write a review on a book that I just finished by the same author. (Hopefully, in a few days you will see why) So, with no further delay, my first book to be reviewed is God's Smuggler, written by a man under the pen name of "Brother Andrew".

God's Smuggler is an extremely compelling autobiography. It documents the amazing events of a man, known as Brother Andrew, that the Holy Spirit used to pave the way for Christ's love and salvation by smuggling Bibles into a land, being eastern Europe, where God was forbidden by the government, being the Soviet Union. In 1957 there was not a single Communist border over which you could take books of any kind - let alone religious books. Yet, this is exactly what he did, time after time. This "illegal" activity also being the reason for the need of his alias.

Armed only with prayer, Brother Andrew crossed countless border under the scrutinizing eye of border guards all the while transporting illegal Bibles. One of my favorite quotes was his prayer during such times. "Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture that I want to take to Your children across this border. When You were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see."

The most impactful aspect of this book was this complete and utter reliance on God and Brother Andrew's intense focus and dedication in prayer. This autobiography is packed full of inspiring stories of how God can use someone who gives themselves up wholly to God. I would highly recommend it to anyone, but not soley to anyone, who has a twinge of interest in missions. Be forewarned, if you don't have a passion for missions, you will have a new found interest before finishing this book.

The events documented in God's Smuggler led to the creation of a missions organization called Open Doors (To get a snippet of the story of his life, they have put together a timeline). Open Doors is an international Christian mission supporting persecuted non-denominational Christian believers in countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed.

I found my first edition hardback on Ebay for $0.99, which leads me to believe this book doesn't receive nearly the attention it deserves. This book had a huge impression on my life, and is easily on my top ten list.

David Knepprath

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Sinister Gene

I will be posting a series of essays I wrote for my General Psychology class this last year (I pray you will find them more interesting then that sounds). The class was pathetic. One of the many pointless assigments was a weekly concept paper.

It was only the previous year (senior in high school) that I had developed a passion for writing along with the "writers high", which you really do have to experience to understand. However, coming into college at MHCC, and taking a lot of higher math and sciences along with general ed. classes, there were not very many outlets for me to be challenged in my writing. (This was before I discovered the wonderful world of blogging of course.)

Instead of just slopping together these concept papers to merely get by with an A, I decided to have fun with them. Geek, I know. Consequently, this meant I was putting in a lot more effort and doing a lot more work then was required to get an A.

So here's my brilliant idea - I figure I can get a few more miles out of these papers in that some of you reading this might receive some form of enjoyment from my overachieving nerdiness.

*Warning* They normally start out really slow and technical, then they get good (I like to think so at least).


The Sinister Gene
Genes are the biological units of heredity, passed down through generations, located on the chromosomes. Behavior genetics is the scientific study of the role of the inheritance of these genes in the behavior of an individual. The characteristics are broken down in to two types. The genotype is the specific genetic makeup of the individual, which may or may not be expressed in the observable phenotype. The phenotype is the observable characteristics produced by one’s genetic endowment.
Even further, these genetic makeups are broken down into three resulting effects. The dominant effect is if the genes received from the mother and father are paired, resulting in a particular characteristic being displayed. However, if a gene recieved from one parent is recessive, the characteristic will not show up unless the partner gene inherited from the other parent is also recessive. The third, being Polygenic transmission effect, is when a number of gene pairs combine their influences to create a single phenotypic trait.

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed. But it isn’t with out a fight. The English word "sinister" comes from Latin root originally meaning "left" but then took on the meaning of “evil" or "unlucky”. Across all cultural boundaries, there have been a history of discrimination against left-handers. In England Left-handers were severely discriminated against during the 18th and 19th centuries, for being associated with mental disorders and criminal nature, and it was often "beaten out" of people. Even the adjective "left" means "improper," "out of accord." In some parts of China, some adults can still remember suffering for the "crime", with suitable traumatic punishments, of not learning to be right-handed in both primary and secondary schools. Even the word "ambidexterity" reflects the bias. Its intended meaning is, "skillful at both sides." However, since it keeps the Latin root "dext," which means "right," it ends up conveying the idea of being "right-handed at both sides."

While it is not known for sure if left-handedness is a genetic trait, there is strong evidence to support this. Statistically, the identical twin of a left-handed person has a 76% chance of being left-handed. This makes sense considering that an identical twin shares the same chromosomes from a single sperm and one egg. Historically, there are stories of left-handedness being an inherited trait. The Clan Kerr, of Scotland, built their castles with counter-clockwise staircases, so that a left-handed swordsman would be better able to defend it. Likewise, many members of the British royal family are left-handed. Genetic factors are usually used to explain this.

When looking at a genogram diagram of my own family from generation to generation, there seems to be an on going characteristic of being left handed in the last 3 generations, with myself being one of them. My great grandfather on my mother’s side was left handed. That trait passed on down to his son, my grandfather. From there it did no pass on to my mother, however, it did pass down to her brother, my uncle. My father’s side is a little less straightforward. No one of direct lineage to me, going down from my great grandfather on my father’s side was left handed. However, my father’s brother has five kids, two of whom are left handed. Also, my father’s sister has a son who is left handed. It appears as if the trait is dominant only in males coming down my mothers side, so in order for it to be passed on to me, through my mother, there must also be a genetic characteristic of left handedness on my father’s side as well, which it appears there might be in some form.

All things taken in to account, the genetic nature of being left handed is hard to trace. Even still in my grandfathers generation, being left handed was frowned upon, and in most cases they were forced to be right handed. So in the case of my family on my father’s side, it is not known whether there is a genetic trait that has been suppressed by the environment or not.
David Knepprath
February 24, 2006

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Important Lesson

Here is a very important lesson that, unfortunately, Jared had to learn the hard way...


DK

P.S. In response to the accusation of "thievery", I just wanted to clarify that this picture was passed on to me by my good British friend Mirranda. Apparently, on the internet it is common knowledge that Jared is the definition of ignorance. ;)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Pysanky (Easter Eggs)

Way back on July 20th in my Assumption of Mary post, I referenced a "Giant Easter Egg" museum. Well, here it is in all of its giant eggish glory! Unfortunately it was being renovated at the time, but you can use your imagination. The museum is nestled in the small town of Kolomya, in the foothills of the beautiful Carpathians. It was constructed in a shape of an Easter egg made of colorful glass. The Museum owns a collection of over 6000 exhibits. Its egg coloring masters have invented methods of Easter egg creation, maintenance, and restoration. What lies inside the museum are hundreds upon hundreds of wonderfully and masterfully decorated Easter eggs.

Pysanky (peh-san-keh) is the correct term for these "Easter eggs". The name Pysanky comes from the Ukrainian word pysaty which means "to write". I have many memories of concocting different dipping combinations to create elborate designs when dyed eggs when I was younger, but I never remember "writing" on one. But this is the difference between a Pysanka (singular) and your run of the mill Easter Egg. It is a very tedious, time consuming, and skillful process, which explains why Americans just put some dye in vinegar and plop a hard boiled egg in it. I'm just joking, sort of.

Pysanky is a ancient tradition in the heart of Europe, with the tradition enduring thousands of years to what is modern day Ukraine through any number of rulers, empires, and nations. The Pysanky is created by cracking the egg open, cleaning to prevent rotting, and reconstructing/reinforcing the egg with paper mache on the inside. Starting with the blank egg, you apply molten beeswax with a pen-like tool in a handwriting motion (hence the name) everywhere you want to remain white. Then you dye the egg in the lightest color. You again apply the molten wax, this time everywhere you want the lightest color to remain. This process is repeated with each consecutively darker color until you have applied wax and dyed the egg in the darkest color. At this point you hold the egg next to a flame and melt off all the wax to reveal a masterpiece much like the ones below (which I purchased for only $7!):

On this egg is a modified Ukrainian crest.


This egg bears the traditional Ukrainian Easter Greeting "Christ is Risen!"

I am going camping for the weekend, with Good Shepherd's college group. I know a lot of people don't think I do anything at work, but it is very mentally draining. I am really looking forward to spending the next 2 days surrounded by God's beautiful creation while getting some solid time in Christian fellowship, in prayer, diving into His Word, and worship.

For His Glory,

David Knepprath