6Jun '14
Military Graveyard

Sacrifice

Sometimes I think I understand
What sacrifice means,
Theologically.
Intellectually.
I can hold the concept in my head
For the shadow of a moment:
A cosmic saviour, crucified
To reconcile me to a God
I didn’t want to know
Sometimes I think I understand,
Through metaphors like
Debt,
Redemption,
Ransom,
A glimmer of what that means:
And all I can do with that
is worship.
But, fewer years ago, and closer:
A generation sacrificed its young
Upon a sandy altar
Their clotting blood bought for me
Upon those beaches
A freedom I can understand,
But all too-often forget.
They do not need my worship
But I still owe them a debt.
As I think about this concept –
More than One has died for me –
I need to choose which battles I will fight
And to Whom I will surrender
Earn the liberty they won for me
And promise to Remember.

This poem is my response to the D-Day anniversary.

Image Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/arlington-national-cemetery-354846/

28May '14

Can a Christian Eat a Burrito?

“For years, well-meaning, sincere Christians have debated the subject of Mexican food. Let me be clear by saying there isn’t a single verse in the Bible that says a Christian cannot have a Burrito, although the Bible clearly warns about the destructive and addictive nature of gluttony… What if in a few years, they discover that they were able to handle their Enchiladas just fine, but their son or daughter could not? The bottom line is this: the question really isn’t ‘CAN a Christian eat spicy food’, Rather, it is: SHOULD a Christian eat spicy food?’ ”

Context for the uninitiated: yesterday my friend Matthew Murray liked a share of this article: http://www.crossroadschristian.org/blogs/blog/12806077-can-a-christian-drink-alcohol. It quoted Romans 14:21, “it’s better not to eat or drink anything that will cause your brother or sister to fall”, but not the following verse, which says, “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God”. As a Christian who drinks with a clear conscience, I wish the original author of that article had done just that.

No offence intended – the opportunity for a satirical take on that article was too good to pass up! And I love burritos :-)

6May '14
Ronnie_O’Sullivan_at_German_Masters_Snooker_Final_(DerHexer)_2012-02-05_21-Shrunk

Victorious Defeat

Ronnie O’Sullivan is a hero of mine, so his defeat in yesterday’s final is not the result I hoped for.  But the way he has handled it is something to be proud of, as BBC commentator Ben Dirs writes:
Read More »

5May '14

“ Don't get a Job. Get a Mission. ”

- Reza Aslan -

That’s the great answer that scholar and writer Reza Aslan gave to the question, “You seem to wear a lot of hats. Author, scholar, editor, sometimes pundit?, father, husband, etc. My question is, what does your average day look like?”

He said:

“I don’t think of myself as having a job. I think of it as having a mission. My mission is to break down walls between communities using arts and literature. I have a bunch of different jobs that allow me to fulfill my mission.
So that’s my advice: Don’t get a job. Get a mission.”

Some of us might disagree with some other things this man says – but you can’t argue with this one :-)

via this post on Reddit.

5May '14

Greythink

I care more about North Korea
Then whether it’s a sin to be gay
I’d rather make my children think
Than tell them what to say
I see faith as conversation
Not as rules to disobey
In Scripture I see God’s living word
(And it still speaks today)
But what it says and what that means
A tweet cannot convey.
I know everything about nothing
Not black or white, but grey.

5May '14

Why I still go to Church

I still go to church each week
Because I am afraid
That if I fail to maintain
The weekly orthodox charade
Then I’ll be judged by standards I reject
Called a Liberal, I expect
They will say that I’ve shipwrecked
My faith because I don’t believe
In a Trickster God who hides
Behind a web of fossil lies
They’d tweet “backslider” if they knew
I hate the statuses they spew
That make faith so hard for anyone
Just a little bit different.
The meeting together I want to give up
Is not about spurring us on
To good deeds and love
It’s about spurning us off
Alternative ideas
Closing corridors of thought
Because they don’t like where they lead
Staying moored in Usher’s harbour
Rather than face the open sea
The evolution of approach
The evidence demands
Because if they don’t hold that citadel intact
What other garrisons will fall?
I still go to church because
I am a coward
Afraid that if I found the courage
To fight this battle
The next one would be easier.
28Apr '14

Net Neutrality and Pizza

This is what ‘Net Neutrality” is about: 

“You pay for your phone service every month. The pizza place on the corner also pays for its phone service every month. When you want to order a pizza from Joe’s Corner Pizzeria, you call their number. If their phone isn’t engaged, it rings and you get to place your order. If they get more orders than they can handle on one line, they buy a second line, a third, even 10 lines to take their orders. Provided one of those lines is free, your call goes through to someone when you ring.

But what if your phone company decided that the way to bring in higher profits was to go around to all the pizza places and shake them down for “premium” access to “their” customers? If Joe’s Corner Pizzeria turned them down, your call to Joe’s might get a busy signal, even if there were plenty of free lines at Joe’s place. Meanwhile, an order to the monied, tasteless sultan of global cardboard pizza-ite, that is, the company who has plenty of money for “premium” access – is easy to reach, because your phone company has promised them that every call will be put through.

The thing is, Joe’s is paying for its lines. You’re paying for your line. The phone company exists solely to connect people to the numbers they dial. But because there are “natural monopolies” in phone service (because there are only so many mobile frequencies and underground cable space), they can abuse their position to extort additional payments from the services you want to talk to. And the more popular a service is, the better it is, the more the ISP stands to profit from this racket.”

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/28/internet-service-providers-charging-premium-access

Our UK situation isn’t this bad at the moment, and a recent EU victory will help… but it won’t stay that way forever without awareness and action.

11Apr '14

XKCD Explains the Heartbleed Bug

Here is a cartoon the explains exactly what the Heartbleed bug is and why it’s so bad (for two years, two thirds of servers on the Internet were vulnerable and an attacker could get anything from that server’s memory, without leaving any trace)

http://xkcd.com/1354/