Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ambigram

I got a classic movie for Christmas:























I was pretty excited for the movie in and of itself, and then my mom blew my mind by flipping the case over. 























My mom claims to have bought the movie solely because of the packaging design. 

Then I stumbled across this online:




















Which naturally got me interested in this graphical oddity.

Of course, wikipedia has an entry with all the details, history, trivia, and references to fill your hearts desire.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Feed Your Family For a Week

I did some digging and was not able to pull up a study that was attached to this photo set. I don't know if this is meant to accurately reflect the regions average food consumption to cost ratio or if it is just a random sampling. Based on the meticulous detail in the pictures (notice the American set even includes food purchased at fast food restaurants) it appears a lot of effort was put into the study.

Regardless, it is an intriguing photo set to reflect on:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Engaging Youth: Cross Cultural Understanding

If you have not already, read:
Intro to Thoughts on Engaging Youth
Engaging Youth: Theology of Missions

Over the last year I have had the opportunity to delve into the Russian Church in Portland. It has been a fascinating journey across cultural lines, experiencing the unique and diverse interpretation of the Church. I have also had the opportunity to see this interpretation of the Church through Elena's eyes and past experiences.

Elena explains there exists a "certain feeling within the Russian Christian community, primarily the adult Russian conservative Christian community. This feeling is generally spread amongst the older generation, those who experienced something excellent in their native country, in their native land. The ones who have a strong connection to the Russian they grew up in, the culture they lived in. Those times, for them, were very sacred - oftentimes they suffered persecution for their faith and saw many great things happen.

Then they came to America and their kids started speaking English. Their kids started taking on this foreign culture, leaving behind the culture of their parents - taking on new ideas, learning new words, and expressing themselves differently. America had more freedom for them, and things which were outlawed for their parents became the norm for them. This was uncomfortable and foreign for the parents, so they resisted. They could not understand how something that was so real to them in Russia (their faith), could get lost in translation or could look differently."

It is here we need to stop and reflect on the framework I laid in the Theology of Missions post. Many of the Russian Christian immigrants were unaware that they were embarking on an overseas missions trip as they boarded the plane. However, in this unique context, the target of ministry was not first and foremost the indigenous population, but their very own children.

Russian Christian parents found themselves secluded in a church, isolated, detached from an understanding, much less an engagement with the new culture they found themselves in the midst of. "Instead of learning about the new culture, the parents rejected it and labeled it pagan. They encouraged their children to keep the Russian language and the old way of life. Anything else, was not of God."

If you refer back to Leslie Newbigins triangle, the Russian parents encountered the Gospel in Russian. The Gospel spoke through specific windows of redemption (the Good News) in that context. This contextualized Gospel formed a unique interpretation of the Church. However, when they arrived in America (a new context) and failed to revisit the Gospel. They became religious/sectarian/separated from the people - which, devestatingly enough in this case, is their very own children who are growing up in America.

Elena, having grown up in a Russian Christian church in American remembers "wrestling with the elders who thought the more Americanized you got, the less Christian you were. I remember when pants were shunned, and when speaking in English was as bad as saying a cuss word. Okay, so maybe the last part was a bit of exaggeration, but it may as well have been that."

The following is a story Elena wrote of our experience encountering this very issue.

"The other day, David and I visited a church where the sermon was about understanding the language of God. This sermon was very intricate and had many fine details and thoughts attached to it. It started off intriguing.. It seemed like it was going to be about communicating love to God and understanding his love for us. That we need to understand His language. What it turned out to be, was that we need to understand our native language, which is Russian. If we are not understanding or reading the word in Russian, we are in grave danger of missing our salvation.

I am not joking.

I was very surprised that this was spoken from the pulpit. I have heard this philosophy for a long time, but never was it that bluntly spoken, in front of the congregation, when the youth is leading the service. They probably didn't understand it. They speak mostly English.

It was very sad, but it raises something that I am most passionate about. Church is NOT the place to learn a language or retain a culture. The gospel is not designed to be nationalistic, nor is that Christ's intention. The gospel is beyond culture and beyond any language. In fact, Christ commands us to go from our own town to the ends of the earth, proclaiming the gospel. Only speaking our native language will make it difficult to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. The church is not a place to be ethnocentric and push culture. It is a place to break free of culture and experience freedom, redemption, love, and all good things beyond what culture offers. It should be trans-national. Not nationalistic."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas (With conviction courtesy of J.I. Packer)

Besides the 6 mile hikes in snowshoes to see my amazing fiancée, this crazy weather has given me the opportunity to do something I haven't had time for in months - crack open a good book; correction: a GREAT book (Knowing God)!

Just in time from Christmas, I came across these timeless words from J.I. Packer. These words gives us a grueling challenge against the values and dreams of this world. These words are as piercing as the icy wind, cutting through any thinly veiled facades of an empty faith.

"The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity - hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory - because at the Father's will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear. We talk glibly of the "Christmas spirit," rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis. But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry tremendous weight of meaning. It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas. And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year around.

It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians - I will be more specific: so many of the soundest and most orthodox Christians - go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord's parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after a pious wish, and perhaps a prayer, that God might meet these needs) averting their eyes and passing by on the other side. That is not the Christmas spirit. Nor is it the spirit of those Christians - alas, they are many - whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle -class Christian home, and making nice middle-class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice middle-class Christian ways, and who leave the submiddle-class sections of the community, Christians and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.

The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor - spending and being spent - to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others - and not just their own friends - in whatever way there seems need.

There are not as many who show this spirit as there should be. If God in mercy revives us, one of the things he will do will be to work more of this spirit in our hearts and lives. If we desire spiritual quickening for ourselves individually, one step we should take is to seek to cultivate this spirit. "You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9). "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus" (Phil 2:5). "I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart" (Ps 119"32 KJV)." (Pg 63 in Knowing God)

May you know know and experience the joy and peace of the Christmas spirit fully this Christmas day, and everyday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Engaged!

This is an exciting time to live. So much change, so many struggles, so much brokenness, so many opportunities for God's love to be poured, and I can't imagine anyone I would rather join with on this journey of life.

Since our first date at Habibi's in downtown Portland I have been in awe of this young womans heart for God, my heart has beat twice as many times because of her beauty, and I have never laughed so much in my life! I have never imagined such a love as that between Elena and I.

It's a beautiful thing.

If you are interested, Elena wrote all the juicy details about the proposal on the blog documenting what we have come to refer to as our Galactic Explosion.

Note: I'm well aware of my goofy face in the picture. I don't have the slightest idea how my face came to be in that composure; might have had something to do with me being in the midst of the most exciting moment of my life. Anyhow, Elena is stunning, that's why I'm posting it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Link-O-Rama 12/14/08

There seems to be an abundance of fascinating items swirling around on the Internet as of late. So much so to warrant a second Link-O-Rama a mere 4 days after the last.

Seems Appropriate on This Lazy Sunday



I'm snowed in at my apartment trying to make the best of it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Link-O-Rama 12/10/08

Finals are over. First order of business: Clean up the slew of tabs that are bursting out of my browser.
  • Some kids in my apartments were selling smallish green peppers (a bundle of 15+ for a buck!) for their family. I figured they were spicy, but I unwittingly sliced up a whole one into my burrito. Turns out they are Serrano Peppers. 5x hotter then Jalepenos (according to the official Scoville Units of Heat).
  • Are you telling me Snow Leopard could bring new life to my aging laptop? My Tiger (OS 10.4) built MacBook handled the upgrade to Leopard (OS 10.5) beautifully (And I still haven't upgraded my RAM from 1GB to 2GB). The idea that I could upgrade across 3 releases of an operating system and actually see performance increase completely confounds me having been raised on Windows (In my old lexicon, New Operating System = Hardware Obsolete.)
  • Over half adults play video games. The most intruiging/sad/scary quotes from the article: "She plays every day, sometimes past midnight, to escape and relax and feel a sense of accomplishment." and "Real life can suck, and games are designed not to," she said. "That's why it's important for most people."
  • Ever wonder what the life of a cat looks like through their eyes? Enter Cat Cam. Some of the photos in the gallery are just hilarious.
  • Eiry and slightly depressing photo set: The Remains of Detroit.
  • Pirates are kick ass. Pirate history is even better. Read up on the latest findings on the adventures of Blackbeard.
  • During my old cubicle days at LSI Logic/On Semiconductor the joints in my hands would always ache from typing on cold days. Enter USB powered cute bear gloves. Problem solved. If I still worked in a cubicle, I would totally sport these bad boys.
  • Oil executives predict $1 gas in 2009. I plead with you, do not let this lull you into a apathetic complacency. We must continue restructing our society to be more sustainable. Lets do it when we have the luxury of not being in utter desperation. I don't have a lifetime of wisdom under my belt yet, but I know enough about humanity to know it is way to easy to act destructively and irrationaly in times of desperation.
  • The neck arteries of obese children and teens look more like those of 45-year-olds, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008. (ScienceDaily.com). Kids better get jumping the rope! ...sidenote: I just added Science Daily to my RSS feed. Great site!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Best Top Gear Clip EVER

Impossible, Clarkson and gang have outdone themselves...and with a Ford Fiesta!!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Building a Bridge to the 18th Century

I am reading Building a Bridge to the 18th Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future by Neil Postman for my Sociology Community and Urbanization class. I am having trouble getting started on the essay. My hope is that if I type up all of the quotes that I tagged it would jump start my brain.

On Technology:

"We learned how to invent things, and the question of why receded in importance. The idea that if something could be done, it should be done was born in the nineteenth century. And along with it there developed a profound belief in all the principles through which invention succeeds: objectivity, efficiency, expertise, standardization, measurement, a market economy, and, of course, faith in progress" (Pg 39)

"Think, for example, of how the word 'community' is employed by those who use the Internet. I have the impression that 'community' is now used to mean, simply, people with similar interests, a considerable change from an older meaning: A community is made up of people who may not have similar interests but who must negotiate and resolve their differences for the sake of social harmony." (Pg 53)

On Language:

"You can 'deconstruct' Mein Kampf until doomsday and it will not occur to you that the text is a paean of praise to the Jewish people. Unless, of course, you want to claim that the text can be read as irony, that Hitler is spoofing anti-Semitism. No one can stop you from doing this." (Pg 78)

"There are hose who have taken the act of postmodern reading and writing to the edge of absurdity, as in the case of The grea Postmodern Spoof of 1997. Alan Sokal, a physicist at New York University, submitted a long essay the the journal Social Text, noted for its commitment to postmodern thought. After the essay was published, Sokal revealed that it was complete gibberish from beginning to end. Not error-laden, not overstated, not even an exercise in fantasy. Gibberish." (Pg 80)

He argues in the academic world we should be reading the likes of "Voltaire, Rousseau, Swift, Madison, Condorcet, or many of the writers of the Enlightenment period who believed that, for all of the difficulties in mastering language, it is possible to say what you mean, to mean what you say, and to be silent when you have nothing to say." (Pg 80)

On Information:

In 1690 "One did not give infromation to make another 'informed'. One gave information to make another do something or feel something, and the doing and feeling were themselves part of a larger idea. Information was, in short, a rhetorical instrument, and this idea did not greatly change until the mid-nineteenth century." (Pg 87)

"Storyless information is an inheritance of the nineteenth century, not of the eighteenth. It emerged as a consequence of an extraordinarily succesful effort to solve the problem of limitation in the speed with which information could be moved...The problem addressed in the nineteenth centruy was how to get more information to more people, fater, and in more diverse forms. For 150 years, humanity has worked with stunning ingenuity to solve this problem. The good news is that we have. The bad news is that, in solving it, we have created another problem, never before experienced: information glut, information as garbage, information divorced from purpose and even meaning." (Pg 89)

"Facts are transformed into information only when we take note of them and speak of them, or, in the case of newspapers, write about them. By definition, facts cannot be wrong. They are what they are. Statements about facts - that is, information - can be wrong, and often are. Thus, to say that we live in an unprecendented age of information is merely to say that we have available more statements about the world than we have ever had. This means, among other things, that we have available more erroneous statements than we have ever had. Has anyone been discussing the matter of how we can distinguish between what is true and what is false? Aside from schools, which are supposed to attend to the matter but largely ignore it, is there any institution or medium that is concerned with the problem of misinformation?" (Pg 92)

The worst thins about television or radio news is "that there is no reason offered for why the information is there; no background; no connectedness to anything else; no point of view; no sense of what the audience is supposed to do with the information. It is as if the word "because" is entirely absent from the grammar of broadcast journalism." (Pg 94)

Useing cloning as an example; "Science can only tell us how it works. What can tell us whether or not we should be happy or sad about this? What can tell us if there are policies that need to be developed to control such a process? What can tell us if this is progress or regress? To begin to think about such questions, we would have to be referred to the body of knowledge we call religion, or the body of knowledge we call politics, or the body of knowledge we call sociology. Knowledge cannot judge itself. Knowledge must be judged by other knowledge, and thein lies the essence of wisdom." (Pg 95)

Taking this idea of bodies of knowledge judging other bodies of knowledge he uses the example of journalist interviewing solely military experts concerning matters war. "Is war the business only of military experts? Is what they have to say about war the only perspective citizens need to have? I should think that weapons systems experts would be the last people to be interviewed on the matter of war. Perhaps the absence of any others may be accounted for by saying the first casualty of war is wisdom." (Pg 97)

All of the talk about information really got me thinking about the need for the reoganization of the Internet. I wonder what such a feat would even look like.

This was enough to get me started on my essay. I'll type up quotes from the last half of the book (on Narratives, Children, Democracy, and Education) if I get the chance. Commenting in favor of doing such an act will greatly increase the likely hood of it actually occurring. :)

www.BTemplates.com

Just finished rummaging through all the blogger templates on BTemplates.

Some of my favorites (though not necessarily all my style):

Red Pepper
Communist
Notepad Chaos
Notepad
Concrete
Outono
Classico
Clean

And lastly, the template which found it's home on Perpetual Anticipation:

The Journalist

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hitler and the Emergent Church.

Over the years there have been many hilarious mashups of this scene from Downfall floating around the tubes of the internet. (See Somebody Stole Hitlers Car and this TimesOnline article with more links). But I can't say I ever expected one based around emergent church culture.



Really, I'm just surprised I got every reference!