Friday, October 07, 2016

I sometimes miss blogging

I haven't posted on this blog in a long time. It has just been sitting, gathering dust. Earlier today, I found myself wondering about it and pondering the deletion of it. After all, I have changed so much since I started this blog it isn't a current reflection of myself anymore.

Still, it holds a special place in my heart. Before I was on Facebook or Twitter, there was Dry Tea. It was my first social media experience. It was also my most prolific, raw, and naive one. In recent years, there have been others.

I sort of keep a Tumblr. I also practice a good bit of curation over on Flipboard. I'm currently studying Emerging Media and Communications at the University of Texas at Dallas, and I have a couple of WordPress blogs I have created for various projects there. I'm individually proud of each of those. From the Balcony of the World was my first foray back into the world of blogging. I wrote about events unfolding in the world, especially in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa as the refugee crisis was peaking in 2015. More recently, I wrote a short blog chronicling a locative media project for another class. QR² was a fun project to create and indicative, I hope, of the kind of projects I will be doing more of in the future.

Tonight, I found myself creating another blog. This one's on blogger again, for various technical reasons. It's also for a class project, but one as part of a group. It's not quite ready yet, but setting it up has dragged me back to here.

I've missed this blog.

So, I finally bit the bullet and updated the theme. I cleaned up some of the widgets which are no longer working, too. I don't know if I missed anything important or not. I may need to review it later. The important thing is: I did something on it. It's running a modern theme now. I don't have to worry about massively breaking it by switching to another theme either. These are positive steps for this space.

So, maybe I'll start blogging again. This is one post. Let's see if I can get to five before the end of the month.

p.s. - We recently had our second child!

"(God) once spoke through the mouth of an ass (Num 22:28); therefore, no man is to be despised, however humble he may be. On the other hand, He permitted the highest angel to fall from heaven; therefore, no man is to be trusted, no matter how wise, holy, or great he may be. One should rather give a hearing to all, and wait to see through which one of them God will speak and act."

- Martin Luther in Temporal Authority: To What Extent it Should be Obeyed


Dry Tea, Wet Leaf

From the Balcony of the World


Articles of Note

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Perhaps the BBC was right to cancel Doctor Who in 1989

So, finally watched season 8 of the new Doctor Who. I like Capaldi okay as The Doctor, but I am disappointed with the direction the series has taken in the last few seasons.

The original Doctor Who tried very hard to be a serious SCIENCE fiction TV show. It was very modern and rational in most of it's thinking. On occasion, it would drift into the current of postmodern thinking, but it mostly stayed true to a modern kind of thinking. This new Doctor Who series, however, have gone increasingly postmodern. In fact, I have decided it is really no longer SCIENCE fiction. It is now simply fantasy.

The quality of writing in the last few years has diminished dramatically. I blame Steven Moffat and crew. They are in the never ending quest for the next superlative. Perhaps it was when the T.A.R.D.I.S. exploded and took the universe with it that the show first truly jumped the shark. Maybe it was when Rose merged with the time vortex and created a man who could not (permanently) die. Whichever shark it jumped first, it likes to keep jumping them still. It seems they have to keep finding bigger and bigger sharks. It's latest shark was an attempt to incorporate some kind of artificial afterlife, courtesy of Time Lord and Cyberman technology. Totally ridiculous.

While the character interactions and portrayals remain sufficient to watch and enjoy, its genuine science fiction supported by science facts seems to have been lost forever. I don't hate fantasy as a genre (I actually really love good fantasy genre material), but this is fantasy trying to pass itself off as science fiction in a way which, in my opinion, discredits both genres. It feels incredibly cheap. I'm not really sure if I want to cry or retch, and I'm honestly not sure how much longer I can keep watching it.

"Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?"

- The Doctor to Clara in the finale of Season 8 of Doctor Who

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Caught in a Web

I just noticed a mosquito, caught in a cob web in the corner of my room, struggling to get free. For about a minute or two it flapped its wings furiously. The panic of impending death was upon it. Suddenly, it stopped. Now it hangs, suspended by a thread of old and tangled webbing. It doesn’t even twitch. I assume it went into cardiac arrest. Doch! No! It did not. For now it is struggling again! I don’t like mosquitos. I feel sorry for this one though. Do I help it? Could I help it? If I freed the webbing from the wall, it would still be caught in it. I don’t want to though. Frankly, bugs scare me. Even watching this one from a distance is causing my heart to race with my own terror. What should I do? I look up from my writing to watch it again. It is gone. No! It has only moved a few inches away! It escaped and is now resting on wall nearby. Do I feel joy for it or terror for me? I think a bit of both.
“To say that what is is not, or that what is not is, is false and to say that what is is, or that what is not is not, is true.”
- Aristotle

Friday, December 20, 2013

Our Newest Family Member

I just realized that it's been slightly over three months, and I haven't posted any pictures of our new daughter, Aletheia! I want to remedy that. So, here are a few select ones!
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. - Psalm 127:3 (ESV)

The Terrible Cost of the Fake Heresies Which Divide Us

One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate.

- Screwtape (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 2)

When we, Christians, get caught up focusing on the denominational divisions amongst us and the inter-denominational politics of trying to say that our little pocket of believers is right while others are wrong, we encourage that perception of the "half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate".

And please don't use the word "Heresy" to describe another Christian denomination or leader unless you know what it means. When you abuse it, you devalue it, and it is one word that requires value. There are certainly times it is appropriate. Saint Nick famously punched out a heretic, and that's pretty funny to me.

I hate to cite from Wikipedia here, but I think providing a definition of Heresy is a good idea. (and since this is just a blog post; not a paper for scholarly review or school, etc…)
In Western Christianity, heresy most commonly refers to those beliefs which were declared to be anathema by any of the ecumenical councils recognized by the Catholic Church. In the East, the term "heresy" most commonly refers to those beliefs declared to be heretical by the first seven Ecumenical Councils.

- Wikipedia: Heresy in Christianity
One place I do NOT think it is appropriate to use the "h" word is when Protestants refer to their Catholic brethren as heretics or as followers of heretical teachings. Catholicism is not heresy, brothers. It differs from Protestant teaching in some pretty important areas, but it's core gospel is still Christian. If you're not basing your judgement of what is or isn't heresy on those areas alone then you probably don't know what the word really means.

In the end, Christian brothers, we will be in Christ's presence for eternity, and, after 10,000 years or so, we probably won't even remember if the Christian brother or sister we're hanging with was Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Angelican, etc. (Personally, this Baptist thinks Pope Francis will be there, and I look forward to chatting with him.) This is the great eschatological (end times) hope of our faith.

Do you believe that Christ died and rose again for your sins? Well then, you're in. (Romans 10:9-13, Ephesians 2:8-10, 1 John 5:13)

If you are curious, here's a useful link for more verses on salvation: What Does the Bible Say About How To Be Saved?

Of course, reading all of them might lead you into some of those inter-denomination debates because different people read them with different understandings. Denominations wouldn't exist otherwise. I'm not trying to attack denominations in general here. I understand that they are a necessity given our present fallen and still being sanctified (being made more like Christ) nature. But we need to remember that these denominations have risen out of brokenness and it's our pride that strengthens the lines between them.

What's the cost then? It's our credibility. When we sit and criticize another denomination as heretics, we don't just damage their credibility, but our own as well. The non believer doesn't easily understand the denomination divisions amongst us, even their existence can be seen to undermine the legitimacy of our beliefs. If God is real, why wouldn't he make all of his believers believe in the same thing? Why do Christians spend so much time fighting amongst themselves? It's the strategy of the enemy, brothers, and it's simple, to divide and conquer. The Enemy has already lost the war, but he's using our fallen nature to corrupt the message as much as he can. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in these battles wherein we have to be right and others wrong, we're allowing our pride to further his goals. I respect the reality of the need for denominational lines, but let's not persist in this fighting amongst ourselves. Please reserve the use of the "h" word for time when it is appropriate only, and try to remember that those other Christians are our brothers, too.
...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

- Romans 10:9-13 (ESV)

Saturday, March 16, 2013


For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

- Psalm 139:13-16