Friday, September 26, 2008

About Censoring

The following is a disclaimer that popped up as I was looking at a FoxSports blog about the USC-Oregon State game:

About Censoring encourages our users to express themselves on their blogs, story comments, or message boards. We don't want to slow down your game when you're dishing on your favorite teams and players.

At the same time, we recognize that not everyone out there loves a potty mouth. So if there's an obvious bad word on a blog, story comment, or message board post, we'll try to censor it.
Feeling brave, mature, and adult-ish? Or just want to get in touch with your inner sailor? You can choose to have FOX Sports do nothing, and leave all those R-rated words alone. If you do, you may see some coarse language from time to time in the community. Don't say we didn't warn you!

Would you like to automatically censor content you view?


What, you might ask, was the offending phrase? Dong. As in "Ding, dong." That's right - a doorbell sound.

When I saw the censor-blips, I admit... I imagined it might be something more comical. I immediately though of Jeff's comment on another installment of "Autoreplace: It's not everything it's cracked up to be."

Monday, September 22, 2008


On one front, Coram Deo is doing well. Attendance at the Sunday morning service is growing, and the number of faces I don't recognize as long-timers is growing. But I have to admit, there's one trend that I'm not really encouraged by.

It seems like participation in our servant evangelism/service projects/community service (however you care to call it) events seems to be declining... and I don't know why. Could it be that people are burned out? That they are unaware of the events? That the idea doesn't resonate with them? I don't really know.

I do know that it's hard to get up and participate. Every time I go, I usually start off the day not wanting to - with a desire to just play a game, or sleep some more, or do just about anything but going out to serve. But at the same time, by the end of the day I'm usually much more rejuvenated, and glad that I got up to do it.

It could be that many people are involved in serving in other ways that I simply don't know about. But I wonder if it's a casualty of the growth we have experienced - as we get larger, it feels less like the small group of friends going out to serve and more like an "event."

I believe that serving is absolutely vital to our health as a church. If we lose heart in serving others, the church will fall gradually into something I don't want to see - a complacent group of people that talks a lot about serving... but doesn't get beyond talk. That holds no attraction to me whatsoever.

Not knowing from where the decline has come (despite the best efforts on the part of our Service Pastor, I am sure), it's hard to know how to address it. But I do know what I can do to try, beyond simply participating. I can try and encourage others to join me in it. It is one thing for the Talking Head to say "we're serving and you should join us." It is, I hope, another for me to say "I am serving, and I hope you will join me." In the former, it is an impersonal invitation. In the latter, it is an expression of a sincere desire on my part to be able to enjoy serving alongside the people in our church, and to be encouraged by their presence serving alongside me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yar Har!

Avast, ye scurvy scallywags! It be International Talk Like a Priate Day, so be clenching yer teeth, squinting with one eye, and giving a hearty "Yo Ho!" to anyone ye be meeting. In honor of this auspicious occasion:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

To Be Fair...

I agree with Senator Obama 99% on this:

Obama addressed the latest news from Wall Street -- the federal bailout of the insurer American International Group -- insisting that the solution should not reward those who reaped benefits from the company’s investments when times were good.

“We don’t know all the details of the arrangement with AIG,” he said. “The Federal Reserve must ensure that plans protect the families that count on insurance and it should bolster our economy’s ability to create good paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills and save money. It must not bail out the shareholders, or management of AIG that were making big profits when times were good. They shouldn’t be bailed out when times are bad.”

The Federal Government should not be in the business of backing off when profits are high and saving the day when they are low. My 1% disagreement would be that to the extent that the shareholders in question are other banks whose reliance on AIG or other failing institutions in their portfolios to remain solvent, we must - to a degree - not just tell them to go Bork themselves. One issue where I see the repeated Main Streel / Wall Street dichotomy as a very dangerous storyline is that it disregards the interconnectedness of the US economy. As the failures of these huge institutions show, when Wall Street collapses it has significant, and harsher, effects on Main Street. To the extent that Obama desires to motivate Main Street at the expense of Wall Street, I think he'll find that the long term consequences are similar to trying to scratch your back with a chainsaw.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Housing Bubble

Did you know that in 2003, the Bush Administration tried to institute reforms that would have intreased the capitalization requirements for "Fannie Mae" and "Freddie Mac," which would have addressed what has become the root issue of the present crisis?

Do you want to know what ranking Democrats thought of these reform proposals? Thanks to a poster at now you can know.

The last three lines in the article should be considered damning evidence against the Democrats in all the present "reform and oversight" talk.

Truth in Advertising

I've seen the quote in a lot of Senator Obama's campaign ads - deriding Senator McCain for saying he doesn't know much about the economy. And it caused me to stop and think: the implication, then, is that Obama does. That's a pretty broad statement, and it gives me pause, because I don't know that the best economists out there would make that sort of claim.

From what I can gather, Obama's main plan to fix the current problem is "leadership," which is about as perplexing an answer as I can imagine. What it sounds like is Obama saying that he will manage the American (and even Global, because it is so interconnected) Economy to prevent anything from ever getting out of hand.

It is possible, but not without a draconian shift in how the nation operates. If we're voting for a President who intends to be the captain of the economic ship, then I'd rather one who recognizes and admits his limits than one who derides the other for admitting as much.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I can't help but think that this should be a powerful ad.

According to Nancy Pelosi, whether or not this woman was alive when her mother's abortion proved unsuccessful should have had no bearing on the fact that the mother's desire to have her unborn child killed completely trumps the woman's right to life.

And for Barack Obama to have voted against a measure to give the right to life to women like her when they are "born" is sickening. What might he have to say to her were they to meet? Like some Republican talk about GDP growth doesn't offest the personal impact on working families when defecit-driven inflation drives down the wages of working families... I can't see how Democratic talk about the right to choice can overcome the fact that their policies would have seen this woman discarded as "medical waste" when she was a living baby.

Monday, September 15, 2008


There are two types of shame born of sin. One says "I have sinned." It is properly aware of the nature of sin, and can drive a man to seek mercy and forgiveness - "Lord, have mercy on me the sinner." The other says "I have sinned." It is rooted in pride - at falling short of the standard we hold ourself to. It is dangerous, because what is really threatened by it is only our opinion of ourselves... and it can motivate us to hide sin, and actually thwart repentance and healing if the damage to our self-image of confession seems to great to seek healing.

Righteous shame seeks to restore broken relationships to man and God because of the realization of what sin has wrought. Selfish shame seeks to hide and cover the sin, lest we let slip that we don't have it all together after all.

It is fine to embrace the former, but we should cast aside the latter, because it is the fruit of pride, and serves to mask that most caustic sin.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Road Rage

Do you want to see men at their most raw, angry moments? Then take a drive through rush-hour traffic. Sure, it might exist elsewhere, but nowhere is it so convinient. At such times, people morph into impersonal vehicles... and tempers can flare.

It's easy to get frustrated - you just want to get home at the end of a long day, and there's SO MANY people in your way. I've gotten frustrated any number of times, so I know how it feels. But such anger is usually full of hypocristy and unrighteous indignation, so I have been working for some self control on such drives.

I'm gald, too, because it gave me an interesting perspective when an erratically driving woman who had been in front of me for a few miles made sure to stick her arm as far as she could out the window to flip me the bird as she was slowing down to exit the freeway, with her face contorted by what looked like pure fury as she screamed somethign inaudible at me from a couple lanes away.

For the life of me, I don't know what I did to make her so angry at me. My best guess is that I either was following her too close for her comfort on the freeway, or that I moved to the right to try and speed up at the same time that she intended to.

Being able to see it from the outside, but in a frame of mind where I wasn't affected by it gave me a chance to see just what it looks like when people get furious at each other on the road, and often over the most minor inconviniences to us. It was sobering, because the expression she wore on her face I've worn in my heart plenty of times as I'm driving.

So I asked for forgiveness for my own anger when I'm driving, I prayed for the woman that she was able to find release for her anger so that it wouldn't ruin her day, and asked that I might become more considerate when driving, so that if there was anything I had done to earn such a response that I would not do so again.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Because there's nothing partisan or divisive about guilt by association:

"The speech that Gov. Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush’s speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we’ve heard from George Bush for the last eight years, a campaign spokesman said."

--From the Obama campaign concerning the GOP VP nominee's speech last night.