Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Who needs Jesus?

I just came back from a meeting of guys that get together to pray on a weekly basis. For the last portion of the evening we gather up a list of people to pray for. We prefer to lay hands on, & pray for those within the group, but most often the need is for those outside the group. Tonight there were 7 of us. We generated a list of approximately 20 people that we knew directly who all needed prayer. The needs ranged from people suffering from physical ailments, broken hearts, to struggling with faith, getting a job, etc. I was both amazed at the sheer number of people in need (given there were only 7 of us), and the degree with which their need was. I mean, if the 7 of us were a sample of the entire, say Christian population, then I am blown away by the need of the entire world. How easy it is to get overwhelmed at the needs pf the world. Where do you start? You start by praying for those that you know. Whomever God puts on your heart at that time. And of course, you could always say something to God at the end of your prayer like, :...and all those other people I have forgotten."

One thing I often get caught up in, is the "I'm too cool for God" mentality. I keep thinking that I don't needs God's healing, & grace. Quite the opposite. Although I can't find the quote right now, Don talks about it in Blue Like Jazz. It's worth a read if you haven't.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Year's resolutions

I almost never make New Years' resolutions, because like most people, I wont keep them. See, I don't even try, because I already know, that I won't keep them. But, this year I think will be different. I just got home from an inspiring meeting of sorts, that has got me a'thinkin. I've been asked what tangible things I can do (this year) to increase my relationship with God. I did a little reflection:
Earlier this week, Laura calls me at work to tell me that the dog had left diarrhea poop in several places around the house. She had the joy of cleaning it up, 'cause it was 7 in the morning, & I had to be at work. It was then that I had remembered that just the day before, on my way out the door, I had noticed a piece of bone (like from a chicken or something) on the back porch. I was late that morning, & felt I didn't have the time to clean up the trash that had been broken into. I also figured that it was right outside the doorwall, & Laura would see it and clean it up. As it turns out, the dog must have eaten the bone and gotten sick, therefore leaving the mess for Laura to clean. It was at this time, that I realized that it was all my fault. It was my fault Laura had to wake up to the smell of rotten dog poop on the carpet of her son's room. I guess you could say this was the final straw, and it was time to get my act together. I needed to turn over a new leaf. I needed a plan, and this meeting of sorts has given me a nudge. I wanted to get my plan down on "paper" so I can be held accountable later, when people have noticed that I'm not been doing my plan. So, here it is:

  1. Make a daily schedule. I need to get myself into the routine of helping out around the house, praying with my wife, & being with my children. In order to accomplish this, I need to schedule it.
  2. Going along with the schedule, I need to set aside some time to listen to the Word. I figure, if I'm not going to set aside the time to read the Bible, I can at least listen to it.
  3. Create a list weekly of people to pray for. It's not hard to think of people to pray for. But, when I sit down to pray, all those people seem to escape me. I also believe that making this weekly list, will "get my head in the game" if you will.
I am convinced that this small list will help me become a better person, dad, husband, & Christ follower. It may seem like a small start, but it's a start nonetheless.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Bit Torrent: why it is NOT illegal

You may have heard of Bit Torrent, usually in connection with movie piracy & "downloading." The problem with that mental picture, is that it's all wrong. Bit Torrent is a method of file transfer, not an automatic piracy tool. You're not going to be arrested if you use it. In fact, I've found many uses for it that are legal, such as LegalTorrents.com, Linux ISOs, & anything at revision3.com. These are only a few examples of a huge assortment of files that can be shared between peers for legal use. So, don't be bashful. Grab yourself a client, and get downloading; because the more the downloaders, the better for all.

Edit: I need to acknowledge that the above image was taken from Wikipedia.org.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Switching to Linux: Walking away from MicrosatinSoft

For nearly 20 years now, I've been using Microsoft software. I've probably even been using it longer, but without my knowledge. Every time I've needed to upgrade to a new version, i.e. Windoze 95 to Windoze 98, I've been completely disgusted at the >$100 price tag. I've always thought it was ridiculous to charge that much for software. At the time I didn't realize what all goes into the development & service of software, especially an O.S.
Now that I'm older & wiser, I'm starting to see the light. There's much more to it than price alone. There's all the things that people are unwittingly forced to deal with because of Microsoft's dominance. A fantastic example is the use of Internet Explorer as apposed to Firefox, but that's for another conversation.
Side note: I must admit, I have a natural inclination to root for the underdog. It really doesn't seem to matter what the context is. If there's a big guy beating up on a little guy (software included), I always boo the big guy. I also know that this does play a role in my decision to explore Linux, but I also realize the potential. It's kind of like learning another spoken language. It's not necessarily useful on a day-to-day basis, but could get you hired someday, or could be used on vacation, etc. Linux.org has a bunch of classes for learning Linux. I think they state it well:

We have developed this course for one basic reason: To bring the newcomer to Linux to the point where you can, using Linux, do everything that you do with MS Windows and much more. Due to the fact that Microsoft, enjoying an illegal monopoly, has its operating system installed on 90% of the world's computers, this course is mainly aimed at people who want to migrate to Linux from Microsoft products.

I guess that I have determined one of my New Year's resolutions. "To become proficient in Linux." I think if I'm going to be able to make a career change in the next few years, this knowledge will definitely play a role.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Mourning, at what point does it cross the line?

It's New Year's Day, mid afternoon. I realize that I had left the phone in the van since the night before. I find the phone & it says 34 Missed calls. Oh, crap! I give it to Laura & she checks the messages. She promptly calls her mother who informs her that her 48 year old brother (Laura's uncle) has died. Her mother immediately transitions into yelling at her because she didn't answer her phone, & she's been trying to get a hold of us since 4am. (Now, keep in mind, had I heard the phone, I wouldn't have answered it anyway.) We had to come get the kids. She even managed to drop a few F-bombs to Laura in her fit of rage. Paraphrasing: "You never answer your F-ing cellphone!"

Laura, not use to this kind of verbal abuse, breaks into tears. Right; not because of her uncle dieing, but because of the yelling on the other end of the phone.

Of course, I flip out and declare that they will never watch our kids again, & that there is never an excuse for yelling at somebody like that. I'm on the verge of screaming because I am so offended, & exasperated.

On the 2 hour car ride out to her folks' we discuss further. She makes a good point, that if I had lost somebody close, she would be the first I would yell at. I agreed that we often take out our grief on the people closest to us. And, since anger is the first stage of grief, it only made sense that she was angry at Laura. The problem I have is the intensity, & manner with which that anger was unleashed upon her. I still find this unacceptable, except I have not experienced loss to that degree. I really am curious of your opinion. Please, make a comment. Was that unacceptable?