Merry Christmas and Christmas Eve everyone! I’ll try to take some pictures and post them as events take place.
Recently at Bible Study I had the opportunity to teach through Ephesians 4:1-3. The verse reads, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” in the King James version. What struck me about this was that I had failed to endeavor keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace on so many occasions that I was hardly qualified to speak on the topic from experience. Instead I would have to humbly teach with examples of past failure: my life being an example of what not to do. Without going into every failure, which could take far more time and introduce too much confusion, I abandoned unity because I had learned that doctrine divides and that good doctrine was to be prized above all and at the cost of anything. While I’m still passionate about doctrine, the Lord has humbled me with the doctrine of Grace and its application in my own life.
You see Paul doesn’t start chapter 4 on its own, instead he starts it after a prayer that outline believers as family. And before that he outlines who the individual is in Christ. Nothing about the context of Ephesians allows for my radical and aggressive departures from various churches due to doctrinal differences. Paul reminds the believer in 4:1 that he should be walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which he was called. What calling is that? The life of Christ being lived out through moment-by-moment relationship. Each believer is called to this relationship with God first and foremost. That way the life of Christ can be manifest in a daily walk.
Paul, not wanting to stop with the profundity that is a walk that is worthy of our calling, hits the believers up with an immense request in verse 2, “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” BAM! Its as if Paul was shooting for the very foundation of the fleshly nature and goes in for the kill: no more pride. Pride is what hits me and causes me to want to be right and dogmatic about things. I have dear friends who have endured this pride and still love me (and my family) despite this intensity. My parents told me growing up that I should consider being a lawyer because I loved to argue. Over time my love for arguing has disappeared. I’ve seen the arguments tear people down, destroy relationships and ruin church bodies. It is not that the doctrine was not important, it was, but that the way that things were discussed rapidly escalated to the point of injured soldiers who were wounded from once friendly fire.
Paul writes that the believers should be lowly or humble, meek or gentle. With patience the believers should forebear or tolerate with love. Love! I hate the term tolerance because it is so often used outside of the context of love. We tolerate neighbors with house colors and decorations we don’t care for, but we don’t often love them. Worse is that in the church we could ignore love and simply tolerate brothers and sisters whom we should know intimately enough that we could pray for them without ceasing (I Thes. 5:17), and as the Lord does things in the life of the body we never stop rejoicing (I Thes.5:16). What wound can be caused between friends when they’re gentle and humble with one another? What blow struck with the slowness of patience can be described as cutting and haughty?
It is with this attitude of moment-by-moment relationship, walking in a manner worthy of our calling, being humble, gentle, patient and tolerating in love that we are called to then endeavor or preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. If I were to say, “Hey brother (under the Father Eph.3:14-15), I have been walking with the Lord and meditating on His word and contemplating this doctrine for a while (in patience), and I think that we don’t see eye-to-eye and I would love to spend some time going over God’s word with you to see what He says about it so that we can preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” then you would say that I have come with a noble and yet humble attitude. I didn’t come with a sledgehammer, but instead with graciousness and love.
Doctrine is critical. It is the clear delineation of what should be God’s revealed truth. But doctrine does not give us the right to depart or destroy others in the body at the onset of a disagreement. Yes, there are biblical grounds for separation. Yes, there are times when believers should part ways because one or more of the parties involved are not behaving in a manner worthy of the calling, but we don’t jump to that conclusion with haste. We rest in Christ, we seek to preserve the unity.
The Greek for the word preserve or keep there implies a guarding or maintaining of something that is whole, to prevent the decay of that thing. Unity is fragile, but in Christ it is not only positionally existent, but very easily possible for Him to preserve. The Holy Spirit has preserved His word for thousands of years and there is not much of a chance that you or I could ruin that. We’re called to a life that is rich and abundant together. Consider that togetherness the next time you start to feel your blood pressure rise. Consider tolerance in love. Consider the opportunity you may have one day in the future where your failures could be offset by the illustration of God’s work in your life to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
I have a left hand with clipped finger nails. My right hand has longer nails. This is weird for me, but as I’m playing the guitar a lot this Christmas season having longer nails saves my fingers a lot. Odd, yes. But I swear that it helps.
What is the proper etiquette to let a person know that they have a crock pot on the roof of their mini-van? I don’t know morse code, I don’t know that it is safe to exit my vehicle while driving with two little girls in the car to alert the driver of the crock-pot-mini-van, and I’m pretty sure that when traffic is that jammed and it is as cold as it was this morning (-13F or -25C) its even less safe. What would you do, if anything, to alert the driver that their soup is getting cold?
In case you didn’t notice, there’s a place called Wikipedia. They have an outrageously large amount of data and apparently a good chunk of it is relatively accurate. Take for example the entry on Pi. That would be a reference to the mathematical constant. If you wanted to, you could follow the links on that page to other references such as the Greek letter. There is far more information about Pi on that page than any encyclopedia editor would allow. That’s because an encyclopedia is about terse, rich data. Wikipedia is about excessive information because its storage, retrieval and modification is so cheap that limiting the data is probably more work than just tacking on more information as its available.
Lets put this in perspective: the cost of printing any book could run into the millions upon millions of dollars depending on all of the people involved. The cost of putting together a web page is non-zero, but its microscopic in comparison. If web publishing were more expensive there would be far fewer ‘get rich quick’ sites. Lets get back to Pi. Apparently people have memorized thousands of the decimal fractions of Pi. Most encyclopedia entries just don’t care about this data, but Wikipedia has further information and a line chart showing the rise in numbers memorized by an individual over time. I have 2: 3.14. That’s 200% more than I currently need due to the absence of circular math (so far) in my job. I have to figure out many other formulas and algorithms, but Pi is distinctly absent from my daily, weekly, monthly or yearly math needs.
In case your encyclopedia is feeling small, just remind it that Wikipedia also has entries on such interesting topics as international Pi day (a day to celebrate Pi). I think I would celebrate by eating pizza and pecan Pi. There appears to be some discrepancy about what other days might be celebrated along with Pi because of rounding. I’m not making that up. Geeks, trivialogists, dataheads, nerds, and specialists all pile in more data so that if Wikipedia is missing something important you can go to Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Live, Ask.com or any number of other search engines to get even more information.
Sadly, there is a space on the internet called ‘the deep web’ [of course you should see the wikipedia article] which does not know the love of the search engines. It is a place that is undocumented, hidden, secret and fully of kitty porn [to my mother: that link goes to a humor site and is not naughty]. It is a place where people are trying to get to, apparently, because I have seen articles on how to find information on the deep web. Here’s some irony for your wrinkled brow: if its unsearched, unindexed, and unknown you’re going to have a hard time using traditional methods to get to it. Never fear! There is the power of human search. Mahalo, Twitter, Digg and the like all use humans to traverse the Interwebs and post links. You may wonder why I mention Twitter, but the answer is simple: if you go to twitter, create an account, and then get enough followers that people all over the world at any moment could be reading your tweets: people all over the world will read your tweets and possibly reply. Its human powdered search. That which was untraceable is now so easy to find that even disreputable presidents who are mocked for not speaking in complete sentences could hammer out a 140 character or less question and get links back from the 14 people who follow them.
So, in short, which this isn’t, the Internets have lots of great content. There’s the Internet, Web 2.0, and the latest news I have is that CSS3 is coming, and then we’ll probably start seeing early betas of Web 3.0 in 2009. If web 3.0 gets too slowed down there is a good chance that the economic stimulation checks, bailouts, and IPO’s will help move things along. And worst case scenario we’ll all be able to eat our free Pi from Wikipedia. Of course you’d wipe your mouth with your pi tie.
I had installed WordPress 2.7 as a beta last month. When the final release came out WordPress notified me, but instead of like previous versions, it just let me click a link and it handled the upgrade on the server with very little fuss. It was like buying a 2008 Honda knowing that when the 2009 Hondas came out you could push a button and for free your Honda would upgrade to the latest. Before several steps were required, now, I just click a button. Wow.
The new interface for administration is very clean and polished and easy to use. Wow.
The ease of editing posts has been taken up just a notch, which is quite nice. Wow.
I can install plugins from within the plugin interface without having to download and unzip zip files, it just works. WOW!
I have been driving Abby to school this week. Evie has come along for the ride. There have been geese in a field on the way to school but this morning they were gone. I asked Evie if she could see any geese. She could not, but she did tell me, “I can smell the poop of the geese.”
Jessica, “Randy, do you want to go grab some lunch?”
[we go to lunch at the garden of olive trees]
Waiter: slow motion service to the point where I now have to work to make up time I lost on a nearly 2 hour lunch break due to the waiter’s slowness.
Me: Your tip reflects your service.
That’s a wrap.
I worked on 2008 taxes today. Yeah! I can’t think of a better use of my time, seriously.
I’ve been doing iterative design work for a podcaster I know and respect. When the time comes I’ll be able to announce who it is, but I have to say: I love it! Design is subjective, but even if things are super simple, and I hope that you think they are when you see it, they need to be well thought out. There needs to be a reduction in clutter, distractions, and elements on the page that make for a poorer user experience.
The other thing that I’ve loved is the back and forth between myself and this podcaster. He knows just enough of what he wants that I don’t feel in the dark, but he’s also given me some freedom to help clean things up as well. We’ve worked well as a team despite my generally busy schedule. Late nights can take their toll, but I’ve been energized by the design process, and design is just a great outlet for me to get some creative juices out. Thanks mystery podcaster for letting me participate in your fun!