October 2008 - Posts
1. The only thing spooky about this post on All Hallows Eve will be the misplaced modifiers and overuse of commas. But that's nothing new, is it?
2. I downloaded and installed Open Office 3 [link] on my home computer last week. I did it primarily because my version of Microsoft Office 2000 is aging and I'm too cheap to drop $150 for a newer version. But after I downloaded and installed the free productivity suite -- which, by the way, is very nice -- I became curious about hidden software in the programming -- also called Easter eggs. While I did find some interesting ones [link], including a game of Tic-Tac-Toe and a Space Invaders knock-off, I expanded my search to Easter eggs found in other software loaded on my computer. And, while this isn't exactly an Easter egg, it is interesting:
Windows users - Click the "Start" button and select "Run" from the menu. Type "telnet" (sans quotes, of course) and hit "Enter." At the prompt, type "o" and hit "Enter." At the blinking cursor prompt type "towel.blinkenlights.nl" and hit "Enter." Now, sit back and enjoy a silent ASCII version of "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope."
For those without Windows or not too technically inclined, try this website: [link]. (Please note that I could not view the website at the time of posting.)
3. Listen, I'm not too much into this hairy, scary stuff. In fact, it verges on demon worship and I prefer to stay away from it. But I did find this interesting article titled "Ghosts in the Library!" [link] and couldn't resist sharing it with you. If you are a long-time reader, you know of my affinity for library architecture. There are some great photos of old libraries (interior and exterior, like the one pictured to the right) and links to domestic and international libraries that I'm sure will show up in future "Library Blogging" posts.
BTW, if -- and I'm sure there isn't a chance -- I am found to be haunting a library postmortem and someone tells you that they saw my apparition in the stacks, deny it furiously. If I'm haunting a library, I'll have a book and be in the last stall in the restroom. That's where I do my best reading.
4. I voted last night.
5. Play chess? If so, try this intimidating game [link] where the computer's future potential moves are displayed graphically. If you are as competitive as I am, then you'll have a fit when you see how many possibilities the computer is considering.
6. For the boys in my house: The Lego Minifig Timeline [link].
7. Also, via Gizmodo.com, here is a Canon digital camera hack [link] that is a "full-featured OS [operating system] substitute that runs from your memory card and unlocks the tremendous unrecognized potential of most Canon A-series and SD Elphs plus several others—for free." Look out, dear! I'll be hacking your S2IS when I get home.
8. Alrighty, the weekend is here. Get outside. We'll be at a weenie roast this evening, hiking to Rainbow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains tomorrow and rest on Sunday. I love you guys a lot. Now, get outside and do something.
Trying to keep it light here for a few days...
Heard on the radio this morning to the tune of Tennessee Ernie Ford's "16 Tons":
Sixteen votes and what did I get?
A couple of menthol cigarettes.
I sold my rights and now I'm forlorn;
I gave my vote to the bums at ACORN.
When I mentioned to my sister that I was going to consider moving my blog to a stand-alone website and blogging about current political issues, she dropped her head and said, "...Not another one of those." And she's right. Political commentary blogs are a commodity. You can find sources all over the 'Net. Here at A Son of Liberty, we offer value added services. This is your dinner table topic prep.
Many of you may have seen this at some time in the past. And if you listen to Rush Limbaugh's radio show, you heard it yesterday as an annual Thanksgiving tradition. However, I wanted to put this in the Liberty Forward archives for access later by the next generation's archaeologists because someday they'll look back and ask, "Where'd we go wrong?"
On August 1, 1620, 102 people, including 40 Pilgrims, set sail for the New World under the leadership of William Bradford. Just before stepping foot on the shores of Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod they composed one of the great documents of mankind, the Mayflower Compact. Based on Biblical reasoning, they established a government on just and equal laws for all residents of the community.
The purpose of the colony was to spread their religion and ... make a profit. The funding came from a group of wealthy businessmen -- venture capitalists, if you will. Under the terms of the London contract, whatever they produced was put into a common warehouse with each member of the congregation getting an equal share. All of the land, buildings and products of labor were collectively built and owned.
The intentions were to set up the first communist society, but soon they were starving to death. During the first winter, half of the colonists died, including Bradford's wife. Governor Bradford conceded that socialism was costly and destructive because it gave no incentive to the able-bodied men to produce more. Colonists were not producing according to their ability and some were taking more than their fair share. Bradford wrote:
The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tired sundry years ... that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common
wealth, would make them happy and flourishing -- as if they were wiser
For this community [so far it was] was found to breed
much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would
have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most
able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend
their time and strength to work for others men's wives and children
without recompense ... that was thought injustice. [link]
The leaders scrapped a portion of the London contract. They abandoned the communal barn and made a new edict: If you don't work, you don't eat.
The colonists were assigned private property rights, learned from the Indians how to produce more abundant crops and catch greater numbers of fish. Again, Bradford wrote, "This had very
good success for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn
was planted than otherwise would have been." Because of this new form of economy, the Pilgrim colonists had not only enough for themselves but they had enough to repay their debtors in England, enough to provide for their families and enough to share with the Indians.
Unlike how many of us were taught as young school kids, the Pilgrims did not celebrate the first "Thanksgiving" to thank the Indians for their help. Sure, they were probably thankful for the assistance. But their thanksgiving was to God for giving them a better way, namely Christian capitalism.
The successes that capitalism produced initiated the "Great Puritan Migration" and cultivated the swift colonization of America. Thank God for capitalism.
An answer to questions in the forum posted here because I needed another blog post (Is that cheating?) ...
Some here found the Bible verses that specifically say that we are
to submit to "every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" to be an
entangling mess. I had hoped that we could continue to meditate a while
longer on what Scripture says about obeying and submitting before
continuing. It is a valuable lesson when we're on the doorstep of
electing a socialist president. However, I guess the next logical
question is the one that you have posed. So, despite my unwillingness
to leave the subject at hand, I guess the forum discussion goes on.
let me say that God is sovereign and, therefore, in charge of world
governments. Each ruler in history from the righteous King David to the
homosexual murderers Caligula and Nero, from the reformer-king of
Judah, Jehoiakim, to the communist Stalin, each monarch, president,
prime minister or dictator was selected and placed at the head of
nations by God. Our next president and his successor is foreknown by
God. There is nothing that we can do that will cause an emergency
strategy meeting of the Trinity. God has a plan and "His truth is
Second -- and this is where it gets hairy -- what
is the end and do the means justify it? What I mean is this: I believe
that there is coming a terrible time of persecution for Christians. I
believe that the little horn of the seventh chapter of Daniel is the
future Antichrist dictator of John's Revelation. He will persecute
believers for a time just before Christ's return to set up a perfect
government. So my focus -- however imperfect -- is encouraging the
saints to persevere, witnessing to the lost before it is too late to
repent and making straight the paths, if you will.
However, some would disagree and say that the events of Daniel
occurred around AD 70. They continue by saying that Christ will return
after a time of Christian prosperity and dominance that will come about
either through grass roots movement or through legal and political
reform, or both. So their agenda, or means, is to set up a theocracy --
generally speaking, of course.
The problem with the latter, in my
mind at least, is that it leans very little on Scripture and forms its
foundation on classical humanism. It either originates with Augustine
or the Magna Carta (You'll hear a lot about that from my postmillennial
friends) and then picks up steam in the 16th Century with the
Huguenots, Luther, Calvin and Althusius. In fact, Calvin wrote
extensively about the right or duty to revolt. It all culminated in the
Puritan colonies of America. It was called Covenant Theology.
Everything was going well for this crowd until the American Civil War
and, ultimately, World War I. It is then when the wheels of
postmillennialism began to fall off. However, there has been a resurgence of Reconstructionism that, again to me, appears to border on militancy.
Now, this may all seem like a very elaborate ruse and a careful
dodge of the question. It isn't. It's just that there is no specific
Scripture to which we can point and say, "Yep, there it is in black and
white: a right to revolt." The concept that the "right of revolution"
is Biblical is a stretch. To the contrary, you find detailed and
specific verses that say that believers are to submit to their
government without compromising our faith. Biblical revolution as
defined by my friends on the other side of the issue can only point to
So, I guess the answer to your question is this: Ask someone
else to find the answer in the Bible. No, really. At this juncture, I
can't find a God-mandated command to raise up arms against his
appointed leadership. Can we disobey them when their laws directly
contradict God's laws? Sure. But do we as Christians commit
tyrranicide? Just ask the Apostle Paul who was illegally placed under
state arrest. He never once mentioned it.
a side note, I think it interesting that a Chinese Christian missionary
once wrote that Christians around the world should not pray for the end
of persecution in his country. It is this persecution that is driving
millions to the saving grace of Jesus.
Now I'll run off and study the subject of persecution and what it means to the Christian.
Update: In the forums, Bahnsen8 wrote:
You believe that post-mil folks believe the Kingdom of God will be victorious in this earth, in every realm, thus you believe that post-mil folks will work to have governments under the reign of God's Word, and thus you believe that post-mil folks need to have Biblical
justification for revolution, for how else would all these governments be brought under God's Word....
Although in hindsight I wish I had made my argument a little more tidy, I agree with the statement above and wanted to include it as an addendum to the post.
I know that everyone does that make it over to the forum or cannot keep up with the forum dynamics. Therefore, you might have missed this most excellent post by Joe. So I echo it here:
"We have examples in the Bible that are relevant to your questions [concerning a multitude of topics]. See Daniel and his buds, Shadrach, Meshach and Abumblebee ... Abeniboo ... Benny. They worked hard, loved the Lord, dealt honestly and gained favor in the sight of their secular leaders. That is what I would encourage Christians under any government -- even a tyrannical one -- to do. However, there is a troubling movement -- among so-called Christians for some reason -- that means to subvert the government, divide it by secession and set up their own leadership.
"What we must do is keep in mind the words of the Bible. And since no one here is willing to do that until this point, I'll take you on a tour.
"We will start in Daniel 2. In verses 37 and 38, Daniel addresses Nebuchadnezzar, the pagan king and 'destroyer of nations', as such: 'You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all' (NKJV).
"Even today, some would try to accuse Jeremiah of being a traitor to his native Israel because in Chapter 27 of his book he prophesied that the land of Judah and Benjamin had been handed over to the Babylonian king; and whoever did not serve the king (literally, 'will not put his neck under the yoke') would be dealt with severely by the Lord.
"Next, for brevity's sake, let's jump to the words of Jesus in Matthew 22: 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s....' Matthew Henry in his commentary gets it right: 'Christ did not interpose as a judge in matters of this nature, for his kingdom is not of this world, but he enjoins peaceable subjection to the powers that be. His adversaries were reproved, and his disciples were taught that the Christian religion is no enemy to civil government.'
"Then let's shuttle over to Romans 13. Nothing is clearer in the Bible about a Christian's submission to government than the first seven verses of this chapter:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (NKJV)
"We're almost done. Don't run off yet. Next stop: Titus. Oh, Titus 3 is a magnificent piece of Scripture. Look closely: 'Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.'
"And, to round up our tour of Scripture, let's look at 1 Peter 2:13-17:
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men -- as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
"There you have it friends. Now, wasn't that refreshing? Cool water. Ahhhh."
Update: [Joe's notes: I corrected a few grammar errors and added text to improve flow.]
... and it just vaulted to the top spot on my Christmas wish list.
You are looking at Hasbro's Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 tripod-mounted, belt-fed, fully-automatic dart cannon [link]. Bubba and Butch would eat humble pie during our evening dart wars. Eat nerf!
What better reason to own an iPhone than to download and install the iBeer 2.0 app [link]? The Hottrix app uses the iPhone's accelerometer to simulate an ice cold brewski being poured when the device is tilted. "Bonus burp included."
+2 man points for buying this one and loading it on your phone.
For years I've repeated the mantra that life begins at conception. However, today I believe that one could make a convincingly sound biblical argument that life begins with the presence of blood. There are many examples of the argument available, but the following letter to President Bush by Californian Doyle Doss is the most concise that I've found.
Dear Mr. President,
Embryonic stem cell research is dependent on the question of when is there life, as well it should be, for no one wants to commit murder. So this question of when there is life is basic to a furtherance of embryonic stem cell research and its possible medical benefits to our ill and aging population. I ask you, Mr. President, and the greater Christian community, and those who believe the Bible to be the inspired unfailing Word of God to prayerfully and diligent seek the truth of these words: "The life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11).
I understand the Christian Faith to be based on blood:
- The blood of Abel crying out from the ground and being heard by God is the first mention of blood in the Bible.
- The first shedding of blood may have been by God when God provided skin coverings for Adam and Eve before their expulsion from the Garden.
- God "passes over" the homes which have blood sprinkled on their doorposts and lintels in Egypt before the Exodus.
- God teaches Moses the shedding, spilling, and sprinkling of blood as ritual sacrifices necessary for the atonement of sins and the purification of the priests and accessories for the tabernacle.
- For thousands of years the Old Testament portion of the Bible chronicles countless blood sacrifices before and upon the altar of God in both the tabernacle and the Temple at Jerusalem.
- And the prophets, speaking for God, gave many dire warnings of serious repercussions because of the shedding of innocent blood.
All this bloodshed, according to many Christian theologians, was necessary to "teach" the importance of shed blood for the remission of sins. This teaching culminating in the sacrifice of the Blood of Yeshua of Nazareth upon a cross, as so skillfully depicted by Mel Gibson in "The Passion of the Christ."
The idea of Christianity is, as I understand it, Mr. President, that by accepting the blood sacrifice of the Christ as a personal substitute for one’s own sinfulness, a person becomes reunited in their relationship with God and receives a new life based on this shed blood because, as the Bible teaches, "the life is in the blood" and "there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood." So you, Mr. President, and millions of others, are Christians because of the life that is in the blood. It would seem to follow, that if there is no blood then there is no life.
My point being, Mr. President, that there is no blood in an embryo until many days after conception, and if there is no blood, and "the life is in the blood," then it would seem to follow that until there is blood there is no life. If this is true, then a bloodless embryo could be made available for research without incurring the wrath of God because of the shedding of innocent blood, since no blood is shed.
Mr. President, please do not mistake my intent. I do not condone murder nor wish to create a permissive climate for murder. If "the life is in the blood," then an abortion of a fetus with blood is murder and a government by the people and for the people should have no active or supportive role in murder. But if "the life is in the blood," then the use of a bloodless embryo in research to give hope and perhaps eventually cures to debilitating illnesses should be encouraged and supported by the same government.
In my opinion we may not have one without the other. If this rationale is correct, that "the life is in the blood," and we permit embryonic stem cell research on bloodless embryos, we must also end government participation in abortions involving a fetus with blood, for that fetus, by this rationale, has life.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your personal and prayerful consideration of this matter.
[© 2004 by Doyle Doss, PO Box 2, Fortuna, CA, 95540. Doss' letter may be reprinted and distributed in its entirety only.]
Like I said, "one could make .. an argument". The argument is based on the logic that stating that life begins at conception is as arbitrary as arguing that it begins at birth. Neither stance is supported by the Bible or by what we observe in science.
Now, while I'm off to form an opinion on the subject, do you have discussion?
1. I'm not all that "into" photography, but I love to tinker and love gadgets and a good SLR, photo editing software and a super-sharp computer are my crack. Check this out:
- High dynamic range imaging (HDRI). Basically, HDRI consists of taking multiple exposures of the same scene and then combining those images. An example is taking a photo of a person on a beach with the sun rising behind them. In order to get the detail of the sky, you'll need a short exposure time. However, the short exposure time will not allow you to capture the details in your friend's face that is shadowed by the sun. So, in order to photograph the details in the shadows, you need a longer exposure but that only "washes out" the sky. HDRI allows you to take multiple photos at differing exposures and then combine them. For more information, the wiki article is educational: [link]. For examples of HDR photographs, see this site: [link].
- Don't have a copy of Photoshop? Compose your HDR photos with GIMP [link], a freely distributed image manipulation program that is arguably just as productive as Adobe Photoshop.
- But if the technicalities of HDR aren't your thang, then give Microsoft's Photosynth a looksie [link]. That is an interesting new visual medium that I will certainly try this weekend and report on early next week.
2. BJ blogged about a wonderful library just for me. I will return the favor: [link]. Livescribe is the world's first marketable smartpen. You write. You record. And then you connect the thingamajig to your PC or laptop and it plays it all back. Pretty freakin' cool, if you ask me.
3. And, since today's blog seems to be brought to you by materialism -- and the number "3" -- let me go ahead an put it over the top and say that I'd love to own a Ford Flex [link].
4. Is the ESV Study Bible [link] available in stores yet? Anyone get their hands on one? Let's here about it in the comments.
5. I'm voting McCain - Palin. Obama is running on government-is-god principles and the rest are running for an election in fantasy land. That leaves me with the geriatric and the pitbull. Although it's not too thrilling and makes me yearn for Christ's return, I'll pull the lever next week in early voting and pray with diligence.
6. The weekend is here. Get outside. Work hard. Play hard. Go to church and ask how you can help. Be a blessing to someone. See you on Monday.
Update: 7. I normally don't update iFriday posts, but I saw this and thought it impossible to not share: [link]. It's time to man up.
I am not sure if you are like me and could not tear yourself away from the debate last night. Now I know who I am going to vote for. You will to after watching [this]!
I checked Neatorama.com today and found this gem: [link]. "Iranistan." "Where'd Russia go?"
Other than that, nothing good is going on today.
Located in Seattle, Washington, the Suzzallo and Allen Library dominates the University of Washington campus. From the UW Libraries website:
The Suzzallo Library, named after Henry Suzzallo, the fifteenth
president of the university, opened in 1926. The architects of Suzzallo
Library, Charles H. Bebb and Carl F. Gould Sr., had a vision of a
campus united by design and reflecting the age-old traditions of the
academy as personified by Oxford and Cambridge. Suzzallo Library was to
be their centerpiece. The library embodies collegiate gothic with its
soaring west facade and row of eleven 35 foot high stained glass
windows and terra-cotta and cast-stone figures. When planning began in
1922, Henry Suzzallo envisioned a library that was "the soul of the
Besides the photograph of lovely architecture, I'm always interested in a library's special collection of rare books and manuscripts. Although I could not find detailed information on the collection, I'm sure the 375,000 photos, 22,000 architectural drawings and pre-1801 material that covers the history and life of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Western Canada would be a contact high. Ah, look! I found it: [link]. Trippy.
Pictured below is the Reading Room. Of interesting note -- besides the insanely beautiful architecture -- is the cork floor. It keeps things quiet. Shhhh.
You can see a virtual architectural and historical tour here: [link].
Photo courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org [link]
Apparently today is Blog Action Day [link], a day where the subject of poverty is written about and pondered on blogs worldwide. And this, they say, will spawn a global discussion about the plight of the poor. Now, whether or not it means someone in Calcutta will call shortly after I post this I don't know, but I do know that the linked website is a whacky collection of liberal, socialist emo-talk. And that should spawn a discussion. (Note to self: Develop a Joe Napalm barf bag for distribution with a PayPal donation.)
Update: Today is also Global Handwashing Day [link], so I am going to wash my hands of the poverty issue by saying that it's not my fault and kill two birds with one stone. Ni!
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"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
Prizes acknowledging peace which are given by this world mean nothing. However, I am continuing the annual Messianic Peace Prize. I am awarding this prize to the individual or individuals who share genuine peace. The recipients must be marked by idealism and an aggressive crusading spirit--messianic zeal. And most importantly, they must have a true love for the Prince of Peace--the Messiah.
This year's recipients are:
The House of Courage [link], its founder Bonnie Skolfield, and its staff. Mrs. Skolfield, who can personally relate to young unwed mothers, has noted that most conservative Christians think they are pro-life, but are really just pro-birth. Mrs. Skolfield and her staff provide a Christian-based residential home for unwed teenage mothers after the birth of their babies.