Sunday, June 29, 2003

Est Bonam?

I think it would be really cool to pray in another language (if I were, say, Italian, I might think it was cool to pray in English). It gives you a certain sense of privacy and reverence to be speaking to God in a way you don't speak to everyone else. To be sure, there's nothing wrong with praying in your native language, especially when praying with others, but...well...I can't explain it, but it just feels right to set something special aside for God when given the chance. I like Latin; it makes you smarter (I'm not kidding), and I like the ecclesiastical accent (as opposed to the Roman accent where "V" is pronounced as "W," so that "Virginia" would be pronounced "Wihrg-in-ee-a"). Thus, I intend to learn enough Latin to say simple prayers in it, though only as an addition to my normal praying.

UPDATE: I have zero intention of becoming Roman Catholic; this is not the first step. Secondly, I'm having some trouble finding the Latin for "For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever." If anyone actually speaks Latin and knows it, could you post it for me?

Quick, Check Your Bible!

Look at Psalm 23:4. If it has a term other than "valley of the shadow of death," I declare that your Bible translation, in terms of poetry, is worthless. If a Bible translator can't even get that part right, then I immediately question their ability to translate the rest of the thing. So far, the New Living and New Revised Standard translations fail the test. The King James, New American Standard, and New International pass. I have no clue about versions such as the Douay Rheims, the Darby, the Scofield, or any of the immediate predecessors or successors to translations already listed, such as the New King James or Revised Standard.

Sudden Theology!

I think that would make a good name for a rock band. "That's right, the new album from Sudden Theology, 'I'll do things YHWH,' is now in stores!"

Actually, that's off-topic (I'm good: before I even start, I've meandered, kind of like that Tech basketball game where we were assessed a technical foul during warm-ups for dunking, meaning that before tip-off, we had points scored against us). The topic I meant to cover was that after I drop off my stuff in Chester, I'm going on a campus tour of Philadelphia Biblical University, where I might consider getting teacher certification or even a Master's degree. In preparation for this, I looked at their Doctrinal Statement from the application, checking to see if we disagreed on anything. Of course, being Anglican, I was pretty sure that there would be at least a few minor disagreements, and I was right. I count six items where I either disagree or would like a clarification. The beliefs of PBU with which I'm concerned are as follows:

-#4. Original Sin: I'm going to have to examine this one more, since I'm still deciding between Calvinism and Arminism, and this would seem to deny Arminism (Free Will).
-#5. Subtitutionary sacrifice of Christ: This raises a red flag in my mind, and I can't remember why, though I'm pretty sure it had something to do with Catholicism/Orthodoxy vs. Protestantism.
-#9. Baptism: I'm unclear as to whether or not they're denying the validity of infant baptism. The relevant part of their statement reads "We believe that this experience of deliverance from sin and empowerment for service is designated in the Scriptures as the filling with the Spirit is not an experience to be sought subsequent to regeneration, but is already an accomplished fact."
-#10. Dispensationalism: I don't agree with a lot of Dispensationalism, favoring New Covenant Theology, though not in its entirety.
-#12. Rapture: There does appear to be evidence of God rapturing people, especially Enoch and Elijah and possibly St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist/Apostle/Revelator. However, this becomes problematic when combined with the next item.
-#13. Premillenialism: I don't know. It doesn't sound correct to me, but I haven't studied it enough to be sure.

Of course, the websites to which I've linked are not necessarily reliable in all areas. Just as I do not completely agree with the Catholic Encylopedia, which I link in my blogroll, it still contains a lot of good stuff. Just a warning. I also suspect that since I've got a lot of studying to do on these topics, some of my beliefs may be in conflict (for instance, it might be that you can't have infant baptism without premillenialism or something like that). This is just an exposition. In any case, I'll talk over the statement with my campus visit guide, and see what she has to say about these things.


One person at least, TS O'Rama, noticed the tagline I had until yesterday. I'm still putting the "stud" in "student," but that's of secondary importance right now, hence the temporary change.

Of course, the idea for shifting taglines came from Sgt. Stryker, from whence many a good idea has sprung (no, I don't know if that sentence is grammatically correct or not).

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Like Jake and Elwood...

I'm heading up to Chester on Monday for my internship. I'll be a teacher/counselor for the summer school, which is dressed up as a summer camp so the kids are tricked into thinking that they're having fun. Basically, I'll have fifteen kids from Kindergarten through fourth grade to mold in my own image (or Christ's, which is probably a better idea). They'll be doing worksheets and such to make sure they remember how to do fractions and spelling, while I'll be pretending that I'm playing down to their level when we play basketball. I'll be staying with Barry and Andrew, and am bringing up my Nintendo 64 per their request. I suspect that there's going to be some late-night Smash Brothers going on, along with Mario Kart and Madden, of course. I think I'll have internet access, though I'm not sure how often. In any case, I think it'll be hard work and a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to it.

It's Official

Spain rules.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Oh Heck, I Don't Know

So apparently Virginia Tech has been offered membership into the ACC, along with the University of Miami but not including Syracuse or Boston College. I think I've gotten past the point where any of this makes much sense to me, but I'll blither on anyway, just like the professional sports writers, who have no more idea about all this than I do.

So the ACC figures to have eleven teams. Honestly, I don't think the NCAA will change the rules to allow them a title game. Thus, they need to recruit someone else. A smart idea would be to ask Syracuse, even though it's geographically inconvenient, since they've got a great basketball program and a pretty decent football program as well, in addition to making Miami more inclined to join. If they want to avoid further antagonism to the Big East, they could always try and recruit Navy, Troy State, or conceivably UConn, though only Navy would be plausible, and only because of its national following. Something unheard-of, yet geographically sound and maybe even athletically possible is Georgia Southern, a I-AA school in the Southern Conference that has been dominating Division I-AA for years. If Marshall could make the transition, so could Georgia Southern.
There are some SEC teams that look nice, but I would think that the ACC would have to be utterly insane to attack the SEC. Conference USA is more plausible, and there are a few teams in weird conferences like the Sun Belt that could fit if they were desperate.

Honestly, though, I have no idea what any of these conferences would or should do, or how this will affect Virginia Tech. I doubt anyone else does, either.

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

According to Jesus, the Spanish Inquisition is overrated.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Guilty Pleasures

By way of Tim Blair, I found the semi-infamous TardBlog (warning: profanity). Yes, I know what you're thinking.

There are two sorts of people in the world: people who like Helen Keller and Dead Baby jokes and those who think the first sort of people are horrible and should be smacked around a bit. I'm in the first camp, though I understand the other view. The stories presented would be awful except that they don't actually make fun of the kids, but rather those who deal with them. Furthermore, realize that for everything you read that makes you think "those poor children; they don't know not to poop in the trash can," etc., realize that non-special ed kids do the same things and worse. For every time you read of a retarded kid throwing a fit, remember that your kid (or, very probably, you) did the same thing and don't have much of an excuse for it. The stories are funny, and they make you realize what teachers go through on a daily basis. Of course, I could still be a horrible person for finding that site funny. Judge for yourself.


I know you will all give a rousing welcome to Something Understood. He's a brother in Christ, and even an Episcopalian. However, he's a theological liberal, so we here at HokiePundit couldn't really put him in the Consie Christers section. By the same token, the Heathens and/or Liberals section seemed a bit overboard. Thus, he shall be placed in the Team Pants section, where there isn't all that much weeping or gnashing of teeth.

Who Needs History?

I received the following on one of the departmental listservs. Of course, we can't possibly be both a Top 30 Research School and actually educate the undergrads. It was very, very silly of me to think that this was the case, and I am duly chastened.


TO: Deans, Department Heads, and University Centers Directors

FROM: David R. Ford

DATE: June 24, 2003

RE: U.S. History Requirement Moratorium

Effectively immediately there will be a moratorium on the U.S. History requirement. This administrative decision by the University Provost is a result of resource priorities. Students with a start date of Fall 2001 through Fall 2008 will not be required to fulfill the published graduation requirements for U.S. History. In 2007, the University will revisit this requirement to determine if there are sufficient resources available to lift the moratorium."

That's right, 2007. We're cutting away so much of the liberal arts departments that we can't even teach American history any more. I'm well aware that we're dealing with budget cuts, but this strikes me as absurd and as an outrage. If you can't manage to deliver a proper education, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your spending priorities. Maybe a few new buildings could go without Hokie Stone facades for a while, as they seem to be awfully expensive for what they are (the facade for the South Endzone expansion cost one million dollars for the Hokie Stone alone). I'm well aware that some money is slated for buildings, some for athletics, some for dorms, etc., but again, you save money while providing a quality product not by cutting important programs, but by cutting the fat (and certainly not by suspending requirement of core classes). I'm glad that I've only got one more year at Tech; there may not even be a liberal arts department by the time I come back for reunions.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

More on Millenial Evangelicals

This was originally going to be in the comments section of this post, but they ran over the limit. This seems to be an important discussion, and I'd like to continue it.

Actually, the reason TS O'Rama says is noticeably absent is one of the strongest reasons why young Christians become Evangelicals, but I'm so used to it that I didn't even think of including it. Obviously, both I and other young Evangelicals (and elderly Orthodox, middle-aged Catholics, Gen-X Protestants, etc.) have our faults in terms of tolerance and patience. The problem is that while we would like to give the gift of obedience to God, we don't understand why the style with which Boomers are comfortable is more right than the one with which we are. Again, we are told to come as we are. Just as I presume a Roman Catholic wouldn't object to Eastern Rite or Marion Rite Catholicism, I don't see why a hymns-and-suit congregation would object to a praise music-and-sneakers congregation. Personally, I feel uncomfortable in the former type of church, and I actually know why various things are done the way they are. It's boring, but it also seems fake. Just as the congregation saying "Thanks be to God" or "Alleluia, Christ is risen" in unison sounds forced, so do the services as a whole. More often than not, traditionalist congregations are also somewhat cliquish. Given the fact that Evangelicals tend to be literalist and very strict in terms of morality, it could hardly be said that they reject traditionalist services solely due to it not catching their fancy.

Perhaps more importantly, though, I have yet to meet a recent convert who decided after going to traditional services that Christianity was the right choice. All the ones I've met have been inspired by the way they saw the Christians in their life behaving, by spending time in Bible Studies and in Discipling, and by going to a church where they feel comfortable. Encouraging new Christians to go to a church where they don't understand the traditions, are bored, and feel unwanted isn't a very good idea. Meanwhile, young Evangelicals have a hard time re-energizing mainline churches, as they are stymied by the in-fighting of committees and disheartened by the apathy they see around them. It could of course be questioned whether or not these elements are actually present, but they appear to be so to the young Evangelical.

It may also be a simple reaction against Boomer culture. To a large extent, Millenials believe that Boomers and Gen-Xers dropped the ball in terms of responsibility. We look at what we know, and massive church scandals and hypocrisy seem to be a new thing, even though they're not really. Quite simply, we don't trust churches run by people of our parents' generation, since our parents' generation is, in our eyes, pretty messed up as it is. To some extent this is normal youthful rebellion, but it is also grounded in more objective views.

The average Millenial Evangelical wants to go on a mission for a year or two, marry in their mid-twenties, start a family, and Right the Wrongs of the world. To our eyes, older generations have a disturbing tendency to not get married, to get divorced if they do, to squirm at the idea of going to Africa to spread the Gospel, and to prefer a Lexus to Righteousness. This is stereotyping, but again, there is some basis in fact.

Simply put, we prefer being around others who believe as we do, though we like to think of ourselves as ready to face down unbelievers whenever called to do so. Judging by their lack of attendance at rallies and dismissal of CCM, mainliners don't seem interested in doing that. If that brand of Christianity allows them to commune with God, then more power to them, but we doubt it's the right way for us.


Apparently, there is a rumored invitation to Virginia Tech to join the ACC along with Miami, Syracuse, and Boston College. I'm not sure what to think, though we definitely don't want to be left out in the cold. If the other three switch and we have the opportunity, we should probably take it. Again, I do think that Notre Dame will be the big loser in all of this, as they were lumped in with the Big East for bowl purposes. I'm told that the Big Ten doesn't want them, meaning that they're left with Conference USA and the Big East if the new major conferences decide to freeze them out. The networks are big fans of people playing ND; other teams regard it as something of a pain in the backside. Conceivably, they could try and pick up WVU, Marshall, Pitt, Louisville, and a few others and form a Mountain East Conference or something, though that would be a pretty desperate move. A thirteen-team ACC would have rivalries of UNC-NC State, Miami-Florida State, and UVA-VT, along with a conference championship game and quality teams such as Clemson, Maryland, and Georgia Tech. If they also pick up Connecticut, they further enhance their basketball position as well. I suppose it's too bad we might leave the Big East, except that it never really felt all that great. West Virginia and Pittsburgh are wretched hives of scum and villainy. Temple and Rutgers were never any threat. Syracuse and Boston College are quality teams, and Miami is always a powerhouse. A thirteen-team ACC would have quite a few quality football teams, and only a few dregs, such as Duke and Wake Forest. Presumably, you'd divide the teams up so that Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech, and Clemson are in one division and Syracuse, Boston College, Maryland, UVA, and VT are in the other, with the teams in North Carolina being divided up either East-West or North-South in order to cut down on travel costs. If we were to play UVA, Maryland, Syracuse, Boston College, and, say NC State on a yearly basis, with visits every two or three years by Miami, Florida State, UNC, Clemson, and Georgia Tech, our strength-of-schedule would finally be considered adequate (though games against Miami, Pitt, UVA, LSU, and Texas A&M didn't do much for us last season). If the offer is extended to us, then we're in good shape. If not, and the other three teams bolt, we've got to hurry and pick up the pieces.

UPDATE: Techsideline points out a scenario where the ACC expands to twelve by adding Miami, Tech, and Notre Dame. That'll be an impressive coup if they can pull it off.


Well, I'm experimenting with hosting this site elsewhere. I've got a perfectly good Virginia Tech account with plenty of space, but I've got the computer skills of Socrates. Tech provides a handy guide to hosting your blog on Filebox, with the minor problem that following the directions doesn't seem to actually work. If I can manage to transfer HokiePundit to Filebox, I may then take the next step of getting a domain (I can spare about $9 per year, after all) and hosting that on Filebox. Thus, may become a reality, though I'd still use Blogger to publish.

Word of the Day

chryselephantine- adj- made of gold and ivory

That's Right Neighborly...

You know, there are people who do pretty rotten things. Kudos to the cops and city bureaucrats.

A Volvo?!?

You are a reliable and stable person. You don't
give a [care] about looks or being popular. You
are there for people and almost as safe as a
person as this Volvo 960. Good for you and for
you being such a great person.

What kind of car are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

(via Feeding My Addiction, via the estimable Dave Tepper)

I somehow wonder about these tests where all they do is compliment you. We should occasionally find something along the lines of "You're a swell guy, but we suspect you eat your boogers, sniff girls' underwear, and cheat on math tests" or "Everyone likes you, though probably not for the reasons you think. It's not the looks or your sense of humor, though feel free to continue thinking that they are."

Probably Not Good

Lacking the will to clear a space for my chair, I'm sitting on top of my CPU. Hopefully, it won't suddenly collapse and leave me with a ZIP drive where the sun don't shine, but I do wonder if I oughtn't bite the bullet and clear a little space.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Poetry Wednesday!

Ah, that's right, the long-ignored Poetry Wednesday...

"They say there's a UVA Pep Band,
Who put themselves up on EBay.
If I could buy UVA's Pep Band,
I'd pay them to stop being gay!"*

-my friend Eileen, sung to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"

Meanwhile, the UVA Pep Band has been disinvited from playing at football games, despite the fact that the UVA marching band isn't scheduled to begin operations until the 2004 season. So sad.

*Note: if it's okay for homosexuals to appropriate the word "gay" to mean something completely different than its former meaning, it's okay for other people to make the word "gay" mean something other than "happy" or "homosexual," though it's probably in poor taste.

Ephesians, Eh?

You are Ephesians
You are Ephesians.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

(via Post-Modern Pilgrim)

Bringing Back That Lovin' Feelin'

Whoa that lovin' feelin'...

By way of Mark Byron, a blogstud, I found out that Something Understood doesn't understand something, namely, the modern young evangelical movement (for lack of a better term), especially among bloggers.

He notes that "the bulk of these sites are from fairly young people, 16-24 years old, and from that particular profile... does it have a name? Non-denominational, Biblically literalist, listening to lots of CCM, attending huge Christian rallies, singing what one 60 year old Episcopalian friend calls "lots of 'I' hymns", fairly anti-sacramental, anti-catholic, anti-mainstream, and anti-homosexual." I fit at least some of most of these descriptions. I'm 21 and usually attend non-denominational services at NLCF, at Navigator Rallies, or at McLean Bible Church, though I know my way around Liberal, Evangelical, and Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian/Anglican services. I believe that one's "default" position for interpreting the Bible should be to assume that something is literal, though it is good to remember that there is also a lot of allegory and metaphor present as well (one problem is that there isn't much awareness of even current idiom in our culture today, much less that used by the ancient Hebrews). I do listen mostly to CCM, though I'll admit that a lot of what's out there is dreck and that there are plenty of good mainstream songs to which I'll often listen. More often than not, it's actually the personality of the DJs and the constant commercials that keep my radio off. The praise songs do tend to be more self-focused, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as most Episcopalian hymns are pretty awful (Mighty Fortress is notoriously bad). If you don't like songs such as Take My Life (Holiness), You Are My King (Amazing Love), My Glorious, Shout to the North, or I Could Sing of Your Love Forever, then in my opinion, you're probably not the person to ask about young people (I'll leave out ones like the Happy Song and CCM songs like Jesus Freak and Wilderness for the sake of not freaking the mainliners too much). I'm down with sacraments, though that's probably due to in large part to my Anglican background. I don't have anything against Catholics, but I do think the Roman Catholic Church has some serious problems right now which they need to sort out. We tend to think of mainliners as "tares among the wheat" unless demonstrated otherwise, and there isn't much of a distinction in our minds between them and "Easter Christians." As for being anti-homosexual, there is very little debate that homosexuality practiced is a sin. Whether it's a big sin or a little sin, we're against it.

Now, Spivey doesn't understand what makes the movement (or as Dr. Byron calls it, pardoning his German, the zeitgeist) "tick." Several things seem to do so. Firstly, a lot of Millenials were raised by parents who, while good and decent folk, basically viewed church as something optional, or at best something to be left to Sunday mornings, before the football game. You go, there are various ceremonies which you don't fully understand, a brief lecture, some singing of hymns you find boring, and then hanging around for a little while in your dress clothes. You'll notice that most teenagers and young adults aren't huge fans of doing things they don't at least think they understand, being lectured, listening to music they don't like, and wearing dress clothes. There have been an awful lot of times when I went to traditional services at a mainline church, only to find myself the only young person there, sometimes by several decades. Everyone seems sedated, and very few people seem like they really want to be there. The minister/priest/rector uses things that you don't really encounter in your daily life as the basis of his sermon, and then you've got organ music and hymns that are decades or centuries old (and often originally written in a foreign language). If you're an Episcopalian, you notice that your denomination doesn't seem to be all that serious about following its own doctrine, and even after years of attendance you still don't really know what separates you from Methodists, other than that they tend to have better hymns and don't have kneeling benches.

At these non-denominational churches, the most dressed-up you'd get is a sweater and khakis. There's music that you like (often rock music), a sermon about issues you're dealing with such as sexual morality, what to do with your life, and living a Christian lifestyle given by someone not more than twenty years older than you. Afterwards, you and your friends, and possibly people you met that day, go out and have lunch together. There are often evening services, which are also nice. There's typically a whole network for getting involved with small Bible studies, social outings, mission trips, and there are people there to help you better understand Church beliefs and clarify your own.

Whether fairly or not, mainline churches are viewed as undersincere, stodgy, and boring. Young evangelicals are sick of denominational infighting, of secular society making fun of Christians and endorsing anti-Christian attitudes and ideas, of pretending to be something you're not instead of coming as you are, of having church be a chore instead of a joy, and having people who are older and who should be wiser pussyfooting around important aspects of the faith. We want to give our time to mentor a child, go on a mission trip to help out in the Ukraine or Tanzania, or build houses for the needy. We don't want to go to chuch picnics, serve on the Building and Grounds committee, or be told to be joyous because it's the third Sunday of Pentecost or Koinonia or whatever. There's room for a little more sacerdotalism, I think, but sacerdotalism is also what twice caused the destruction of the Temple, of Moses' rod, and the Reformation, so it may be better to err on the side of caution.

UPDATE: Although new to the Land o' Links, Post-Modern Pilgrim has some thoughts on this subject.

Calvinism vs. Arminism!

No, I'm not brave enough to take up the issue on my own. However, I did email the leading Calvinist blogger about the issue with my concerns, and he's already been replying. This'll take some thinking-over, but I'm grateful to him for his replies.


Silflay Hraka and A Dog's Life have both abandoned BlogSpot in favor of Movable Type in the past week. Update your bookmarks or look like a schmuck.

Being a Stud

In the past, I've mentioned that so-and-so is a "stud for Christ," or sometimes simply a "stud." What do I mean? Well, the best place to start is with the all-purpose definition of any kind of stud supplied by my friend Jeet: girls want him, guys want to be like him. Obviously, there are sexual studs. Christian studs, however, are those Godly men who aren't ashamed of their faith and who trust in God. They're willing to help others in need and are not to proud to ask for help when they need it themselves. Through the Navigators ministry, the World Impact ministry, and various blogs, I'm privileged to know several of these studs. There is, of course, a corresponding term for Godly women, but the Navigator men have noticed that they don't like it very much, and so we don't mention it in their presence (side question to the ladies: what would be an acceptable term for the female version of a stud?). In any case, I encourage the studs for Christ to keep up their efforts, and encourage those not yet to the level of studliness (such as yours truly) to step it up.

Tremble, Ye Mighty

I'll bet you were unaware of this, but JC has returned. Also in recent news, Jesus is a bit of a stud for Christ and likes mariachi music (I think we all suspected that).

Meanwhile, most of my posts are getting eaten.

Sunday, June 15, 2003


Blogger Pro is all...different...than it was before! I'm scared; somebody hold me!

Actually, I do wonder how much time I've got left on Pro. It's been okay, but not stellar. I definitely don't think I'd pay to renew it. I'm not moving to Movable Type or anything like that, either. It might be nice, but I don't blog enough to make it worth it, and it would have to be worth a fair amount to me, since I'm trying to save money in anticipation of teaching at the school in Chester. I have to raise my own money from people willing to support me for that, and so Blogger Pro and Movable Type aren't currently especially high on my list of things to get.

I don't think I'm actually going to do the Blacksburg Crawl, or at least not as it's usually done, with the crawler being obligated to drink whatever's put in front of him. There are nine bars. I have certain friends who would help me out by going with only one drink per bar. Nine drinks in three hours, while it will obviously be impairing, isn't terrible. We'll see about that. I do appreciate the comments in response, both wishing me a happy birthday and encouraging to think over going on the crawl.

I went Swing dancing with some friends from school yesterday evening, which was a lot of fun. I'd never really done Swing before, so I wasn't exactly tearing up the floor. They taught me basic East Coast style, with about four moves. It's probably enough to be able to not look hopeless, yet not enough to actually do much with someone who isn't also a novice. Still, it's a lot of fun, and I think I'll work on learning some more. The main trouble for me was that while the music is in four, the dancing is in six. To someone trained in music and with seven years of marching band experience, there's a bit of unlearning required. We somehow ended up with five guys and five girls; a Tech alumnus with his fiancee, three Tech girls, the friend of a Tech girl, another Tech alumnus, two Tech guys, and a friend of the second Tech alumnus. I paired off with the friend of one of the girls; her name was Suzanne and she'll be a teacher at a local Christian elementary school next year. Neither of us had done Swing before, and while I caught on very slowly-yet-surely, she was all over it. By the end of the evening, some of our guys had even taught her Lindy Hop, which is a more complicated type of Swing.

We were taught that in dancing, the number one rule is that if a mistake was made, that it's the guy's fault (and that this is therefore good practice for life and being married). Perhaps more usefully, we were taught that if you need a moment to think and don't want to just do the basic step, you can twirl your partner for as long as you need to think, provided she doesn't quit and smack you. Again, there's probably a life lesson in there somewhere. I was wondering how I'd practice the things I'd learned until it dawned on me that I've got three sisters, all fairly tall for being girls, so I should be set.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Happy Birthday to Me

As of yesterday, I am now 21. I would've celebrated by having a Corona with my fajitas yesterday, but my sisters were there and I don't like the idea of drinking in front of people who can't or shouldn't (there's something in one of Paul's epistles on that subject, though I'm too rusty to remember it offhand). In any case, I've now got a bunch of my friends down at Tech who're insisting that I do the Blacksburg Crawl now that I'm legal. None of them has ever seen me drink (there are only about a half-dozen people who attend Tech who ever have, and that was in London), and they knew that I was waiting until I turned 21. Whether or not I actually do the Crawl is as yet to be determined, but with only nine bars, I suspect that some sort of compromise arrangement can be made.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Read Ye This

I know he posted it a while ago, but I've had trouble accessing Blogspot sites from my home (dialup) connection. I'm at George Mason University right now, blogging from class (I've already finished the assignment), where I've got ethernet. In any case, the links to individual posts aren't working, so you'll need to scroll down to the second post of May 21st at Dispatches from Outland, entitled "Thoughts From the Middle of the Night Department." He rightly points out that goal of life isn't to be healthy, wealthy, and happy. It's to accomplish The Mission we've been assigned. This life is only temporary; it's what comes after that's important. Think about it, when you go to the grocery store, you're there to buy your tomatoes, Sprite, detergent, and Polly-O String Cheese. While you're there, you're not going to build a house, find a wife (presumably), start a family, and start your own business. You're just on a trip, with pre-set goals. If you come back from the grocery store with a wife but no beer, your roommates aren't going to be especially pleased with you.

I went to Frontline at McLean Bible Church with some of my friends from the Virginia Tech Navigators last night. The message of the lesson was that when God calls us to do something, we should expect an interruption of our plans, an inconvenience, and often public humiliation and shaming. The example used was the Virgin Mary, who definitely experienced all three.

[I need to go now, but this post will be finished once I have internet access again]

Darn Right

What he said.

Friday, June 06, 2003

What I've Been Learning

Around 1300 BC, the Minoan culture on Crete was flourishing. If you've ever seen the famous fresco (painting done on wet plaster which dries and is then permanent) Bull Jumping, that's from the Minoan palace at Knossos. The dark figure doing the flip is a man, while the pale figures are women. This is from the Egyptian custom of depicting men with dark skin and women with light skin because the former worked outside while the latter worked indoors (princes were often pale, though, as a sign of wealth). It has nothing to do with race. The palace at Knossos was called the Labyrinth ("axe-room") because the walls were adorned with paintings of double-headed axes, which was a Minoan royal symbol. Borrowing the concept of columns from the Egyptians, with whom they had trade, they built columns with no base and which got thicker at the top before being topped with a capital. These columns were wooden, and not load-bearing.

The Minoans controlled Crete, mainland Greece, the Aegean islands, and the coast of Turkey. One city-state subject to the Minoans on mainland Greece was Mycenae, near modern Corinth. In the Iliad, Helen is married to Menelaus, king of Mycenae. When the Minoan civilization collapsed, possibly due to the explosion of Thera (modern Santorini), and potentially giving rise to the legend of Atlantis, the Mycenaeans briefly became dominant. However, they were shortly thereafter overrun by the Dorians, a tribe from the North, which plunged what would later become the Greeks into the Dark Ages. The Aegean islands and Turkish coast was conquered by the Ionians in the meantime. Eventually, the Greek city-states such as Athens, Sparta, and Corinth arose and began building things. The the residents of these city-states, while rivals and occasionally even enemies, considered themselves Greeks, and, due to their being inherently superior to everyone else, would band together to fight barbarian invaders (a barbarian is a person who doesn't speak Greek, as foreigners all sounded to the Greeks like they were saying "bar bar bar bar..."). The Greeks were a very religious people, and thought that one way to connect to the supernatural was through logic. Thus, proportion was very important to them. Statues eventually developed into idealized forms, with the head from chin to hairline being exactly 1/7th the size of the statue as a whole. Temples, after many experiments, were finally designed so that there were X frontal columns and Y side columns in the proportion Y=2X+1. This is similar to the Golden Rectangle used in Greek architecture. The temples had originally been made of wood, but when the Greeks became more adept with stone, false beam-ends were carved into the stone in order to make the new stone temples seem like the old ones. Mainland temples used the Dorian Order for columns (Greek= style), while island and Asia Minor temples used the Ionian Order. All Greek columns were slightly bulged at the middle as an optical illusion (other wise they'd seem thinner in the center). Dorian columns had no base, were not fluted (grooved), and had a pretty simple capital. Ionian columns had a base, fluting, and a capital that looked like scrolls or seashells (imagine the old logo for the St. Louis Rams). When the Athenians built the Parthenon, the outside was in the Dorian style, but the interior was in the Ionian style. This was for several reasons, the ostensible reason being that the Athenians wanted to honor their Ionian allies in the recent war where they held out against the Persians. Another reason, however, was that Pericles, leader of Athens, had tricked the treasurers of the Delian League on the island of Delos into letting Athens safeguard the treasure, which he used to construct the Acropolis, of which part is the Parthenon. Thus, he hoped to placate any Ionians who got upset about this theft. The Corinthian columns had a base, were fluted, and had a leafy capital. The plant at the top represented death to the Greeks, and so Corinthian columns were only used in temples designed for mercenaries to offer their sacrifices.

The Greeks had colonies in Italy, and thus influenced the Etruscans in what is now the Tuscany region of Italy (get it? Etruscan, Tuscan...). The Etruscans had their own order of columns, which was essentially Dorian but with an additional base. The Romans conquered the Etruscans, and while Rome considered Greece to be the epitome of culture, much of their architectural designs were based on the Etruscans. The Greeks were more of a religious people, but the Romans were more political. They didn't care about proportionality in their structures or the Golden Rectangle. They used Corinthian columns because they liked them, freely modified Greek temple designs, and, unlike the Greeks, made use of arches. These arches allowed them to construct massive bridges and, when rounded, buildings like the Colosseum. Furthermore, the Greeks had been more adept at sculpture, and while many Greek statues were freestanding, Roman ones will always have something like a tree stump to help brace the statue. Contrary to what you may think, marble sculptures were considered cheap copies of the important statues, which were bronze. However, nearly all bronze sculptures were melted down in the Middle Ages, and only a few survive. Several Greek statues have been recovered from sunken ships, while the sole remaining Roman bronze equestrian statue, of Marcus Aurelius, exists because it was mistakenly thought to be Constantine, bringer of Christianity to Rome, and was thus left alone. This statue follows the custom of the horse's feet telling the method of death for the rider, with all feet on the ground indicating a natural death, one foot up indicating death received from a wound received in battle but not of immediate fatality, and two feet in the air representing death in battle. It is from this statue that all Medieval and Renaissance equestrian sculptors received their guidance. The Romans also tinkered with idealism in sculpture, showing the body idealized by the head as a realistic depiction of the person's face in order to make the statue identifiable. Whereas the narcissistic Greeks idolized their race, the political Romans idolized their leaders.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?