Archive for December, 2006

"Facts are not what most humans believe … "

Posted 21 Dec 2006 — by nick
Category Books, Fun, Technology

While on iTunes the other day I noticed a free audiobook that seemed interesting enough: The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman. The audiobook, read by the author – John Hodgman, claims to be an almanac of complete world knowledge according to the writer. The past several days have found my office mate and I listening to the book while working – chuckling due to the absurdity.

Here is a quote from the book I found hilarious and quite summarily appropriate of the book. I’ve transcribed it here for you:

“The main advantage that this book has over libraries and indeed all of it’s almanacian predecessors is that all the historical oddities and amazing true facts contained here in are lies, made up by me. And it is this astonishing innovation that allows each entry to contain many more truths than if it were merely factual.

If this last point seems confusing to you consider the banal and truthful statement that follows:

Fredric Chopin was a Polish composer in the romantic style who wrote primarily for the piano.

I guess this is sort of interesting, as most facts are, but history has shown us again and again that Facts are not what most humans believe, they are not that which moves most men or women to love, or hate, or joy or cry.

Now compare this statement:

Fredric Chopin was a Polish composer in the Romantic style who was obsessed with lady bugs, often letting dozens of them gallop over his neck, arms and long tapering fingers while playing the piano.

Obvious the lie is so much more compelling. It shocks the mind and plays on the readers imagination with lady bug covered hands. New resonances emerge and new melodies of insight – not just into the nature of Chopin but also the art of composing, the history of the lady bug as good luck charm and colioopterophilia (spelling – meaning ?). It also finally explains how Chopin solved his terrible aphid problem.”

You may recognize the voice and or face of John Hodgman as the PC from the recent “Buy a Mac” commercials in which he has done an amazing job encapsulating the ineptitude of a common PC/PC user 🙂

Download the free audiobook and enjoy the many laughs guaranteed through a listening, if you find yourself financially inclined, purchase the book.

A Confession

Posted 15 Dec 2006 — by nick
Category Jesus, Ministry, Scripture, Spirituality

I’ve been thinking about this learnt behavior I have. It came to me sometime over the course of my Christian life and I’ve been trying to unlearn it for quite sometime. Maybe you can relate. It looks like this:

I’m talking to someone about their faith and there are basically two outcomes, either they claim Christian as their label or non-Christian. The latter is the easier case in a lot of ways. I say that because when someone tells me they do not consider themselves a Christian we continue to talk about life and faith and the like – in essence the conversation doesn’t shift or change. God remains the focal point of the conversation but in the practical, real ways He exist in my life and theirs. The more cumbersome case proves to be when a person claims Christian as their label. Seemingly immediately my heart enacts the learnt behavior of faith detective – the conversation shifts to checking for religious speak. What my heart is really listening for – the secret pass-phrase if you will – ‘accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.’ Once I hear it I then have to answer questions. Did they just grow up in the Church and know the secret words, what does their heart really believe?

This is wrong. This is backwards.

The problem here lies in a disconnect in how I am listening to each person. It would seem I take a person who doesn’t consider themselves a Christian at their word, while someone who does requires detective work. I believe completely that to follow Jesus is to accept Him as Lord and Savior – only I think we measure that like Jesus suggests, by the fruit of the tree. If a person has a desire to follow Jesus and are trying to do so we see evidence of such. You see it in how they talk about others, how they talk about themselves, how they talk about God. To understand someone’s heart requires commitment and desire to know them – not just looking for conformity to religious speak.

I believe understanding if a person is a Christian to be a vital part of shepherding and caring for people, only I think in a lot of ways I’ve learned to do it the wrong way. I’ve learned to make sure they conform their vocabulary to that of Christian normalcy. I like the why Eugene Peterson translates Jesus words in Matthew 7:21-23:

Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance— isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

Loving people is not letting them just recite some magical incantation – Jesus is far more interested in your heart, in you being obedient, in you following Him. My gripe though is that in an effort to see if that is the case for a person I’ve learned to check their password instead.

I don’t think I’m alone in this…

Black Holes and Revelations

Posted 01 Dec 2006 — by nick
Category music

In recent days I’ve been browsing the iTunes music store and sampling music recommended me over the last year or so. Somewhere along the way I decided to check out the new MUSE disc. My exposure to them has been rather recent beginning with Absolution about a year ago. I liked them alright but didn’t feel compelled to purchase the disc or explore much further. Having heard a couple tracks off the new disc (Black Holes and Revelations) – served up from their website – I decided it was worth a shot.

I sit now writing engulfed in the intoxicating swell of electronic beats, guitar rifts and slow-draw emo-esque vocals. It’d delightful.

Favorite tracks so far:
Knights of Cydonia