Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Crazy Illusion

This is pretty cool.

Wallace and Gromit

Monday night the wife and I went for burrito's at the Short Pump Arby's (yes, Arby's, the roast beef sandwich people - they have a burrito bar at that location, and you will not find a better burrito in Richmond), and then went to see the new Wallace and Gromit movie The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. All I'm saying is that it was dang funny. Do yourself a favor and go see it.

Seriously, go see it.

Then check out the other Wallace and Gromit shorts if you have never seen them.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Congratulations... David Bridgewater, the husband of one of my wife's best friends. His dialogue opposite Geena Davis on the show Commander in Chief was shown this past Tuesday. He plays Charlie Witherspoon, the Secretary of the Interior. Unfortunately, Witherspoon is a bit of a scum bag and resigns as part of a plot to undermine the Administration.

But I assure you, David is much nicer than that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Could It Be True?

I just heard a rumor that strongarm, one of the best hardcore bands ever, may be getting back together. Sweet.

More Pictures (Finally!!)

Finally added more pictures to my photo album. They are the pictures from the Montrail-sponsored Climbing Trip to the New River Gorge in WV with the gang from Blue Ridge. This trip was way back in the Spring of 2004. Yes, I know, it's now Fall of 2005. I'm a little slow on getting the pictures up. So sue me.

Jim Donini was on that trip. If you don't know who he is, he's a world famous climber that has many first ascents from all over the world under his belt (google his name to see what I mean). He specializes in climbing cracks, which I had never done before this trip, so it was good to get pointers from him.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Comment Word Verification

Sorry to say that I just made it so you have to go through a word verification step to leave a comment here on my blog. I have been getting spammed quite a bit in the comment section of each entry. This word verification step means that a picture of a word will appear on the screen and you have to type the word in to be able to leave a comment. The automated spam programs can't do this step, so they can't leave comments.

I know this is annoying, but so is being spammed by stupid advertisers.

And I think that if we all pull together, and with the loving support of our friends and family, we can manage to get through this...

...But Customer Service is Alive and Well

Yesterday at work, we got a phone call from a person who was on their cell phone standing in the middle of a big box sporting goods store (which shall remain nameless, except to say that in formal settings, it's referred to as "Richard's"). She was trying to buy some hiking socks and had many questions about which ones to buy (you haven't lived until you've looked at all the different options in the world of hiking socks), but couldn't find anyone in the store who was either willing or able to help her. So apparently she called information to get our number, and then called us to ask us our advice. She went through the options she was looking at and we talked to her about the advantages and disadvantages of the specific options she had and helped her make a decision.

How stinkin' funny is that?!

Not to brag too much on Blue Ridge, but that is why smaller, specialty retail shops need your support -- you can't get that kind of customer service shopping over the internet or at big box stores. Generally, the smaller specialty shops will actually know about what they are selling and you are buying. Even if it costs a bit more (and that's generally nothing more than a myth, btw, that if you buy it at a big box store, you're saving money. Especially in the Outdoor Retail world, products are generally always priced the same at small local shops and big box retailers -- actually, our prices are the exact same - or less - than the big box store down the street), it's often worth it for the information and service you will get.

I'm stepping down off my soap box now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Death of Modernist Evangelism (When It's Time, It's Time)

Ok, so yesterday I was down in the Fan drinking coffee at a coffee shop reading and doing some work. I ran into an old friend of mine who mentioned that there was a guy down at the Commons on VCU's campus preaching. So morbid curiousity drove me to walk down that way. I've seen these campus preachers before, some who are rather nice guys just trying to share their faith, and others are not so nice (general rule of thumb: if you want people to listen to your opinion on Grace, Mercy, Faith, and Hope, don't call them a "slut" or "whore" or "whoremonger").

Well, this guy seemed rather nice. At least he didn't call anyone names. And he looks like John Kerry, which was really funny. He had a mic on him, so you could be sure to hear him. There was a crowd of students standing around listening and a few students who were challenging him with questions. And suddenly I felt sick to my stomach. It just made me sad and frustrated and angry.

There are a few problems, I think, with this kind of "witnessing". The first is generally the crowd you draw and hold is mostly christians and then a few (quite brave) non-christians who are debating with preacherman. So the actual number of non-christian students you are even potentially engaging is kinda small. Also, it sets up a situation where christians gang up on the non-christians. There were christians engaging some of the non-christians, but it was always one poor soul against 3 or so well-meaning christians, with each christian jumping in with his/her opinion every time the brave non-christian brought up something they believed. Fundamentally, that just seems rude. Winning an argument by ganging up on someone, akin to the argumentum ad baculum fallacy, does not count. Also when you have a mic, and are engaging in a debate with someone who doesn't, you are necessarily putting yourself at an advantage and the others at a disadvantage (which is also why talk radio/tv call-in shows are, while at times entertaining, ultimately pointless and stupid and don't get us anywhere).

Secondly, I understand the need to show that christianity is right. I'm just not sure it's possible to do so by arguing or by logic in general. That mindset seems to stem from the rationalist/positivist school of thought (more on this in a second). That is, if it is true, it can be proven logically. If it can't be proven logically, it isn't true. Can I prove logically that God exists. I don't think I, or anyone else, can. What I can do is show that there are some good reasons to believe that God exists, or show that it is not illogical to believe that God exists or to believe in christian doctrine (e.g. Plantinga's Warrented Christian Belief).

Also, I don't think people generally make important faith-type decisions because of someone pointing out publically that their beliefs are logically in error and christianity is logically true, or even that christianity is more logically true than their beliefs. I think people, at least in my experience, make these decisions because of people they have met and gotten to know, because they have seen the goodness of Christ, not because of a logical debate.

This rationalist mode of evangelism perhaps worked well in the modernist culture (it was certainly popular, at least -- i really don't know how effective it was). But that's not the cultural climate we live in, especially on college campuses. Those who stay to debate preacherman were not doing so as an endeavor to Discover Truth. They were doing so because it's a mental exercise, because they don't like someone they don't know coming onto their campus out of nowhere telling them that they are wrong. Not because they want to discover truth. Those debating are generally perfectly willing to admit that their logic may be wrong. (Side Note: in a side debate, one guy was being "witnessed to" by several christians. They got him to say "of course you [christians] may be right." And they jumped on that. "Aha! You admit you may be wrong and we may be right!" "Of course," he responded. The christians took it as a victory, as getting closer to converting this man, but it wasn't. This man came into it with the idea that he may be wrong, which is how most people in this philosophical climate come at things. We are still stuck in the modernist mindset with the idea that logic will convert. It won't. Arguing with this guy over and over and over won't do it. Stop the debating, and get to know him. He said that what we are to be doing on this earth is feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, freeing the captive. GOOD. That's common ground. The christians should have said "yes, I agree. Let's work on that together." But they just kept debating.)

And I have to wonder, do we christians do this because we think if we can't prove to others, if we can't show others that WE ARE RIGHT (W.A.R.), our faith, Christ's Church, all that we hope for, will come crashing down? Is it a lack of faith that drives us to do this in this manner?

This mode seems, to me, to be lacking in humility. I wouldn't listen to a stranger if they kept insisting over a mic that my thoughts, my ideas, my beliefs were absolutely wrong and that they were absolutely right. I might engage a little for sport, but I wouldn't really pay them much mind.

Now, if a friend and I were discussing things and they shared why they thought I was wrong after listening to why I thought the way I did, then I would certainly think about it and wrestle with it, and be much more inclined to take it to heart.

We need some intellectual modesty in the church.
The Blue Gallery, in Kansas City, MO, is the latest professional gallery to sign up to represent the wife's art. So now she is profesionally represented in New York City, Richmond, and Kansas City. Sweet. So if you live in Kansas City, go check it out. And then tell me why you, as someone living in Kansas City, are reading my blog.