Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Don't forget to Vote Will for SGA President! While you're at it, if you're in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS), write me in for Senator! I don't think either of us will serve (he's graduating and going to MWC; I'm graduating and doing grad school at VT), it's still a great idea! Besides, we both like beer, and have decided to form BeerSGA as our party. So, be a cool person and VOTE!
Under Over by Doctormanette, from the album "The Same Thing Over and Over..."
Yeah, this feature has been gone for a few months, but I recently went searching and found a lot of good new music. I personally like Third Wave Ska and Ska-core (sometimes aka "Fourth Wave"), and so that's what I searched for. I don't pirate music, but I have no problem downloading the free sample tracks bands provide, and will sometimes buy the albums of these bands. One band I found recently was Doctormanette (or, as Amazon.com calls them, "Doctor Manette"), a now-defunct five-piece band featuring trumpet and sax.
Key elements to good ska are clear vocals which match the tone of the instruments and songs, catchy lyrics and hooks, a good sense of irony, some musical knowledge and talent, and a horn section capable of playing both very tightly and fairly loosely while playing accurately and creatively. I also like clean lyrics. Most bands have some of these, but not all. Reel Big Fish and Mighty Mighty Bosstones have mismatched vocals, in my opinion. Five Iron Frenzy also is trouble, with high vocals that get annoying after a while. OC Supertones have abandoned ska, and several other bands were never really there to begin with. Catch-22/B.O.T.A.R./Streetlight Manifesto is incredibly talented, but the lyrics not only have profanity but in Streetlight Manifesto's case, contain outright blasphemy at some points. Many other bands, such as I Voted For Kodos, MU330, Voodoo Glow Skulls, 13th Tribe, Buck O' Nine, and Radio Active have a good song or two, but on the whole aren't so hot.
Doctormanette has all the things I want in a ska band. It is one of the very few bands, along with groups like the Insyderz, the Hippos, Secret Agent 8, and the Toasters where I like pretty much everything I hear. In their songs, they manage to switch keys, do several minor variations in a row (listen to the end of Over Under), catch you with hooks, and yet keep everything clean and in good fun (bands that can do that always seem to break up...). My only regret is that you can't find their lyrics online, though I've ordered their CD from Amazon and hopefully they'll be in the liner notes. If you don't feel like buying their CD, or want to test out more songs first, you can go to EMusic.com, get a trial subscription, and download their entire CD (2 Cents, Diesel, and Under Over are free off the band's website, though...). Next free link: Insyderz
Monday, March 29, 2004
As anyone who's been reading knows (and has heard to death), my denomination, the Episcopal Church USA, has
It's not a "beautiful" service like many Anglican ones, but sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good, and these services are good. For me, it's an answer to prayer to simply have a solid church where I can worship in good conscience and be a part of the community. That's something that I've pretty much always been lacking, and it's very nice to finally feel like that missing space has finally been filled.
I need to be careful, I think. I've got an opportunity before me that I know deep down I shouldn't pursue. While very attractive, it would only end up causing harm, and it would destroy another, more edifying opportunity that may or may not happen. So, any prayers for patience and discernment would be appreciated.
Unrelatedly (yes, I know I could put this in another post, but what would that accomplish?), I think I've hit on a way to make my praying better. In the past, I would either feel overwhelmed and generally fall asleep, or I'd be there for an hour or more, basically praying for everything and everyone I could think of, in detail. What occurred to me was to make seven categories of things, such as my family, Virginia Tech, Chester, the world, missionaries, etc. and pray for one of those categories every night. That way, all my praying gets done every week, and it's at a do-able level.
Happy Birthday to Erika, who will now be found under the "Fighting Gobblers" section in the Land o' Links. Josh S has also been added to the "Consie Christers" section, and many (not all, alas!) links have been updated, as people move off Blogspot or tweak their addresses in other ways.
Somewhat relatedly, I've got a small problem. There are quite a few people I'd like to add to the list, but I don't want it to get to the point where no one really pays attention anymore. How should I do this? Ideally, a few would be featured at the top for a little while at a time, but that would mean adjusting my template once a week or so, which I don't really want to do. I'll figure something out. In the meantime, if your site isn't listed, it's not because I don't want to, but because I don't want to make the link worthless.
Well, I learned a lot about computers today (and not just because my Computer Science for Liberal Arts class met today!), mostly out of necessity. It turns out that my computer had been the victim of the CoolWebSearch homepage hijacker, and with the help of my roommate and another friend, figured out how to fix it. Now, I knew about viruses and worms, but a homepage hijacker? What kind of sick person spends their time coding things like this? Sheesh. I figure I got it bundled with one of the freeware CD rippers I'd been using. As a result, I decided to simply buy WinAmp 5.0 Pro instead.
I also learned about the incredibly awesome (well, relative to computers, at least) System Configuration Utility, through which you can tell all sorts of worthless and annoying problems not to boot up with Windows! Yes, I too let out an ecstatic cry of joy!
I'm still working on convincing my browser to open Outlook Express rather than Netscape Messenger when I click on an email link. Though IE acknowledges that it is to open OE, like John Kerry, France, or Frank Griswold, it ignores this agreement and simply opens the Netscape tool instead.
So it turns out that my computer is back to working pretty well again. I still have no idea what ails QuickTime, but I'm not really sure I want to push my luck today. Maybe tomorrow.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
This weekend, I ran around campus on a scavenger hunt, played wallyball for two hours, went running, practiced softball, and did Swing dancing. My hands and wrists hurt from hitting the wallyball and smacking into the walls to try and get the ball; my legs hurt from the running and the dancing, and I'm tired. I've never managed to actually get all four of my limbs in a painful state before; I just figured I'd complain on my blog so I could move on. Thanks for reading; good content coming once I figure out how to heal my computer!
Apparently, my computer's cheese done slid off its cracker. Whenever I try and run Internet Explorer or click on anything on my Desktop, I get a message, before my application has launched, that it has committed an illegal operation and must shut down. Instead of my normal homepage, I get something along the lines of "res://thingy.dll..." and am told that Internet Explorer won't work. Now, things in my taskbar do work (except Quicktime, which may or not be related, but was finicky before). My virus scanner hasn't picked up anything, and I haven't gone rooting around deleting files, either. So far, all I've done is install the Opera browser (because MIE stopped working), tried to reinstall MIE (no luck), and added and removed a CD ripper demo (no idea if that has any connection). Netscape still works, sometimes, but it's a vastly inferior browser to MIE. I have no idea what to do, though conceivably my roommate may. I really hope the computer itself isn't FUBAR, but given that I've had it 3 1/2 years and most of my friends are already on replacements, I may have been living a charmed life. Now, I certainly wouldn't be happy about my computer being hosed, but I understand that it's a possibility.
Friday, March 26, 2004
At least not if you're prone to epileptic seizures (I'm serious!)
And now...the link!
Not that I could drink Guinness right now anyway, it being Lent and all. Anyway, as much as it pains me, I'm going to have to disagree with TS O'Rama. Personally, I think the new building at Ave Maria University is absolutely gorgeous in design. To me it screams "ultra-Gothic," in that it takes advantage of modern technology to allow for the entire church to admit light, rather than just a few windows. Of course, I'd prefer more stained glass, but there are certainly limits to what we can artfully accomplish. My main concern, though, is that while it'll be absolutely lovely when first built and whenever cleaned, it'll look like a dingy greenhouse the rest of the time. And, knowing universities, it's going to look dingy a lot, unless they can spray it down with Tilex by helicopter once a week. Still, a good idea.
I mean, if you want awful churches, you don't have to look too hard
Thursday, March 25, 2004
I'm sometimes conflicted. I feel like if I'm going to put something up here, it should be insightful and somewhat polished. On the other hand, that takes a lot of time. I could easily post raw thoughts here, which would be much shorter. If I go with the polished approach, it'll help my writing and make things clearer for the reader. On the other hand, the raw approach takes far less time, though it'll be harder to understand. For me, I know what I'm thinking, and can pretty well fill in any blanks I leave in the writing. So, I don't know which way to go.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
A few posts down, I mentioned that I didn't agree with the doctrine of "Once Saved, Always Saved" (OSAS). While I am convinced that we can lose our salvation, and acknowledging that this is extremely difficult to do for one who has been Saved, there is another factor in play, too. Somewhat like Pascal's Wager, OSAS is a safer bet. If I'm wrong, and it turns out that we can never lose our salvation, then the worst possible outcome is that a person spends time worrying about their status than they needed to. However, if OSAS is wrong, then people may believe that they have a license to do wrong so long as they made that commitment at some point. I've met people like this, but I recently became aware of a shocking example of this recently.
It turns out that a few days ago, a guy in Navs I know was randomly called by someone who said that they "wanted to talk about Christianity." My friend wasn't the first guy; I know that person immediately before him alphabetically (among guys) was also called, and had tried to set up a time later, as he was occupied. My friend was free, and so the two of them met at one of the dining halls on campus. It turns out that this was a homeless guy living in town (I didn't even know Blacksburg had homeless people), who had once made a promise to a friend to talk to a Christian about religion. He'd been searching around on the libarary computer, and somehow found the Navigators' website, including phone list. Anyway, this guy asked my friend if a person could lose their salvation. My friend, having a different view than I do, told him that one could never lose their salvation. This is where my starts to become apparent. The homeless guy told my friend that all he had was a car with enough gas to get to a certain town, but that he had a job waiting for him out West. He had tried calling churches along the way, but none said they could help him. My friend counseled that he stay in town and try and find any temp jobs that he could, since within about a week or so he'd have enough money. The guy said that he didn't know what to do, but that he was thinking of driving to a certain nearby town, robbing a store, and then leaving.
This is why OSAS is dangerous. As I read it, the guy was basically checking to see if he would go to Hell for robbing the store, as he'd already been Saved. Now, we can argue all day long about whether or not he actually had been, but I don't believe that any of us can say for certain. However, this doctrine of OSAS, which I view as untrue, can cause nominal Christians (and even actual ones) to commit sins, thinking that it won't affect them.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
I was talking with my mom about the "recent unpleasantness" in the Episcopal Church, and it occurred to me that this is being taken too seriously by many (most definitely including me). In the body of Christ, ECUSA isn't the heart. It's not the brain or hands, either, as much as the "if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off" idea appeals. No; denominations can't really rise above the level of spiritual tonsils/adenoids/appendix. I still have all three, and that vaguely pleases me. I mean, they help a little, and in the abstract I like having everything that I started out with, but if it came down to my adenoids or my life, the correct answer is "duh." However, when they get infected, as the Episcopal Church and many denominations have, it's time to excise them before they harm the essential parts of the body. Again, let's not delude ourselves: we're not talking about removing the lungs. If, say, the United Methodist Church were to up and disappear tomorrow, Christianity would continue on without too much trouble, though the loss would of course sting, and we'd be poorer for the loss. However, it wouldn't lead to the death of the Body of Christ. Remembering this will be good for me as I continue to consider what course to take.
Fearsome Pirate hits one into the cheap seats with this post. The quote "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk" (John 5:8) really struck me. I'm forgiven. I can't keep lying on my mat of excuses. I need to go and fulfill my potential. I could go on and on about all the difficulties I face or have faced, but how does that serve God's purpose? It doesn't. I shouldn't forget about them and what they've taught me, but they can't dictate my future or I am ignoring Christ's sacrifice.
As Nathan, an alumni on Nav staff here at Tech put it, guys only ever experience one feeling: "weird." Afraid to do something? Weird. Stomach upset? Weird. Madly in love? Weird. We're either fine or we feel weird. Pretty simple, actually.
I did have a weird feeling this evening, though. Every week, all the Nav Bible Study leaders (in theory, at least...) get together for instruction, sharing triumphs and disappointments, talking about how are studies are progressing, and all. I already knew that I have some doctrinal differences with our director, who is non-denominational but is more-or-less Southern Baptist. I'm fully aware that I'm well on the "Catholic" fringe of Navigators. Most of our people are non-denominational, Baptist, or Presbyterian, often with Charismatic influences. Well, I also learned this evening that I'm the only leader (at least, of those who attended) who doesn't believe in "Once Saved, Always Saved." I'm sorry, but to me, a plain reading of Scripture simply doesn't support the idea. However, this is at least the second time where those present have asserted that OSAS is doctrine, and implied that anyone who disagrees is very definitely mistaken. Ironically enough, the only other person who even expressed doubts about whether Salvation can be lost is a Presbyterian.
I have to say that I was getting a little bit upset; not least because I quite simply don't buy the argument that the Scripture argues for, much less clearly argues for, OSAS. My response to the idea is literally "you must be joking." What got me, though, wasn't that others disagreed with me, or even really that pretty much all of them disagreed with me (had I been at a meeting of the Lutheran, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Episcopalian ministries, it's quite possible that breakdown would've been the opposite way). What got to me was that something as contentious as this, which hasn't really been satisfactorily resolved, was brushed so lightly aside, with those on one side utterly marginalized. It pissed me off. There was a point where I quite simply considered walking out. I like Navs because it's a serious ministry, but I've lately been getting sick of what I regard as either mysteries or outright heresies being promoted. However, there's not really anywhere else for me to go.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
You are Sally!
Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Of course, unless I can sort out what looks suspiciously like crypto-Calvinism (despite Lutheran protestations of innocence), this Hokie ain't goin' nowhere.
A lot of my thinking has been along the same lines as Confessing Evangelical's lately. Anglicanism is in deep trouble. If I didn't have Church of the Holy Spirit (an AMiA parish in Roanoke), The Falls Church (an AAC parish in Falls Church), and Church of the Good Shepherd (a FiF parish outside Philadelphia) nearby, I probably would've already bolted for some form of Lutheranism by now. And, let's face it: at least so far, I have no objections to Lutheran beliefs.
For those who don't know, this doesn't mean that I've excluded myself from Anglican beliefs. Unlike many denominations, the Episcopal Church USA (and Anglicanism worldwide) isn't a "confessional" group. By this, I mean that there's not a specific statement of beliefs that must be followed to be a member. Obviously, one must affirm the Bible and the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds, but beyond that, there's a lot of leeway. The Thirty-Nine Articles was never binding on ECUSA, and is no longer binding on the Church of England (which is good, as I have trouble with some of them). Anglicanism is more like a family than a political party, if that makes sense. Whereas Protestants, generally being confessional, often break off over minor doctrinal disagreements, Anglicans tend to break off more because the agreed-upon minimums and church governmental rules are being ignored by the leadership or the laity.
I don't want to leave the Episcopal Church. If you know me at all, you know that I'm utterly enraged by ECUSA's recent (and not-so-recent) actions. However, I was baptized Episcopalian, and my doctrinal beliefs do not conflict with those of the Episcopal Church (obviously, because there really aren't very many). In my time, I've checked out Methodist, Mormon (an early and regrettable error), and non-denominational churches and ministries, and none have really worked for me. I'm a fairly high-church guy, and I like the liturgy. Realistically, I'm probably not going to switch to anything other than some form of Anglican, Lutheran, or possibly Methodist (itself an Anglican offshoot) worship, anyway. The odds of me going Baptist or Presbyterian are absolutely zero, and unless a church regularly serves Communion, I'm not likely to stay long. I'm going to alienate people, but I think it needs to be said: church without the sacraments is just a pep rally. I have too much of a theological beef with them to ever become Roman Catholic, and the only RC service I've ever attended, though with a fairly-decent liturgy, was so watery and with such an awful homily that I don't think there's much chance of me swinging that way. I like the Anglican way, and if at all possible, I intend to keep to it. I like being able to modify my positions as I learn more without having to wonder if my church considers me a heretic. While I don't hold it as dogma, Apostolic Succession seems like a pretty good way of doing business. I like our liturgy, our history, our artwork, and knowing that we can claim CS Lewis as a member. I know Lutherans are fairly similar in these things (the one time I attended a Lutheran service, I thought it was Episcopalian until I read the bulletin closely; my only real tip-off was that they used white wine instead of red). I. Don't. Like. Change. I don't like the idea of having to switch because people have polluted my community.
Of course, maybe this is a test of my...humilty? Patience? Open-mindedness? I'm not sure. Abraham was called upon to leave his home for a better one which God had prepared for him. Christ sent the disciples out to foreign lands. On the other hand, new believers (in most cases) weren't instructed to physically leave their job and place. Likewise, being more of a family than a party, there's more loyalty present; you don't just leave for a family with healthy members if your sister gets cancer.
Will I leave? I'm going to need more direction from God. A huge part of me wants to stay and try and heal my church. However, a growing minority of me wants to disassociate myself from blasphemers and heretics, especially given that there's another, similar church where I could go with my current beliefs. Right now, I think that the biggest factor may simply be geography: the East Coast, especially the Mid-Atlantic, is the heart of Episcopalianism, while Lutheranism is more of a Midwestern thing. My dad was/is a Lutheran, though he deferred to my mom's Episcopalianism in things like marriage and baptismal ceremonies. Most of my ancestors were either Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Puritan/Anglican, or Mennonite. The reason my Mom's family is Episcopalian, as I understand it, was because it was unfashionable several generations ago to be Mennonite, and the cool thing to be was Episcopalian. There's a lot to my church I like, but there may be too much that is poisonous. Will I switch? I don't know.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
I recently realized that not only is there a girl (whom I never actually met) from my high school in one of my classes, but I'm almost positive that there's a girl from my elementary school in the same class as well (whom I only slightly knew, and who now looks utterly different from before).
Monday, March 01, 2004
At my high school, there's apparently a big scandal that has yet to hit the press. Two students, a guy and a girl who had a study period where they worked in the attendance office, used their priviliges to alter their own and about fifty other students' (mostly or all Seniors) records. Students who had skipped enough classes to automatically fail had their records altered just before grade reports were sent out. The guy was the student leader for JROTC, and the girl was the captain of the lacrosse team. I'm deliberately not mentioning the name of my school because there's the tiny off-chance that this post could make it's way up to the bigger blogs. My little sisters are both Seniors, and while neither had anything to do with this, I don't know what effect this scandal might have on colleges' view on students from my old school. The people implicated are mostly the sort I never liked (stole school supplies, drank a lot, acted like they owned the school), and I honestly don't think they ought to be allowed to go straight to college after such an incident. On one hand, it might remove cheaters from competition with my sisters and other honest students. However, it could also persuade those colleges to steer clear of all kids from the school. I'm very tempted to contact the tip lines at local news affiliates. What do you think?