Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just One Bad Century

Dusty Baker's boys came through for us last night, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, and giving the Cubs a bit of space. Now the Cubs have to take care of Milwaukee before heading to St. Louis. In looking at the Cubs' pitching rotation, I think Ted Lilly should take the mound Saturday in St. Louis when I'll be there.

I found an interesting video in a series called The Karma Train on a website called Just One Bad Century that describes the way the Cubs made it into the 1908 World Series:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thoughts on Jeremiah Wright

Last night I was doing some channel surfing. About 9:30, I grew tired of basketball, and hit the new channels. CNN had pre-empted Larry King to give coverage of Jeremiah Wright's keynote address at a fund-raiser for the NAACP in Detroit.

I was fascinated by the excerpts that I heard. I did not see the entire speech, though I set my machine to record its rebroadcast. A year from now, I will be teaching Anthropology. One of the basic ideas of missionary anthropology is that cultural differences are not better or worse, but rather are different. Wright had a segment that dealt with linguistics, ethnomusicology, even homiletics, where he parodied cultural differences between blacks and non-blacks. It was entertaining, and may be useful when talking about cultural differences my future missionary students may face.

When Wright's inflammatory post-9/11 statements came out, Barack Obama put some needed distance between his controversial former pastor and the campaign. Some of the talking heads think Wright should just fade into the woodwork. I found it ironic that one of the Republican talking heads was irate (and nearly irrational), concerned that this self-centered minister should fade into the woodwork rather than putting himself out there in public, hurting the political chances of Obama. Why was Wright there? Well, there were nearly 12,000 people present at a very pricey fund-raiser. I think he was there because his presence could bring in a lot of cash (and probably put a bunch in his own pocket at the same time.)

Back in March, I became aware that Jeremiah Wright had been featured in Christianity Today's Preaching Today series. Our preaching students are required to listen to a variety of sermons from that series. I made a mental note to listen to him preach in that series. This morning, I listened to his message in the series, dating from 1990. It was titled "The Audacity to Hope", and was based on 1 Samuel 1:1-18, about Hannah looking upward toward God in the middle of her barrenness. It was a good sermon. Ironically, Obama's second book (which I have not read) is titled The Audacity of Hope.

Wright is a proponent of Black Liberation Theology. Fair or not, that is the context from which he moves. The most redeeming part of his speech was the emphasis on cultural differences not being deficiencies, but rather differences. He advocated change in the manner in which we see those who are different from us, and also in how we see ourselves. That also is positive.

Back in March, when Wright's inflammatory statements hit the air waves, I found that one of his supporters, Frank Schaeffer (we used to call him Franky Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer--I plan to write more about him someday), wrote a piece for the Huffington Post titled "Obama's Minister Committed Treason But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero."

When I left home this morning, I popped in a DVD-R into the DVD Recorder, and started the replay of Wright's speech from last night. I'll edit the speech, and maybe some comments. I may show it (or portions of it) in Anthropology class next year. As to the damage Pastor Wright may cause to Obama's campaign--well, I guess we are just going to have to wait and see.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Week in 1st Place--Will They Be in 1st On May 3?

Next Saturday, my son-in-law, Steve Robinett, and I will make a trip up to St. Louis to watch the Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals. He has played in a fantasy baseball league for as long as I have known him, but I think if you were to pin him down, he is a Cardinal fan. I've made lots of trips to Cardinals-Cubs games with fans of the Cardinals. It should be fun. I would rather see the Cubbies win, but there are 162 games in the regular season, so who knows what will happen?

Jerry and Linda Mitchell, friends from Joliet (New Lenox), IL will be going to St. Louis. Linda is the sister of a great friend from high school, also a Cub fan. Linda's Mom is a super fan, as was her father.

I was reading a Cubs board, and saw a reference to Stephen Colbert (of the Colbert Report) where he said "Death to the St. Louis Cardinals". I googled that, and found a funny Colbert video (from opening day of the baseball season). It's short, but made me laugh (on the inside at least):

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Missions and Baseball

I've just come back from a missions program at Crossroads Christian Church of Baxter Springs, KS. One of my students is an intern at the church, and put the program together. It was great. Shane Wood, of Institute for Christian Resources gave the message, and an excellent message on missions.

I got home, and found out that the Cubs won big-time today, sweeping the Pirates. The Cardinals and Brewers lost, giving the Cubs sole possession of 1st place in the National League Central. Eamus Catuli, indeed!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Combining a Cell Phone and a PDA

My first cell phone was the standard Nokia phone (kind of like a brick) several years ago. I have had several different models over the years. They are getting smaller and smaller.

I have used three different PDAs over the years. My first one was a Palm-based Handspring Visor that I used for a few years. I later sold it, and purchased a Toshiba Pocket PC. That machine died, and for the last couple years I have been using a Dell Axim x50v. As devices continue to shrink, the Dell Axim seemed to be huge. I used to carry it all the time, but recently I found myself carrying it only to chapel meetings or to church. Unless I was preaching somewhere, the PDA was the only Bible I would carry with me.

The problem was that carrying a cell phone AND a PDA was cumbersome. If I had the PDA in my pant pocket, it stuck out quite a bit. Normally I would carry my cell phone in the same pocket. If I had both in there -- well, you get the idea.

What if I could combine the two into one device? I checked with my cell phone carrier, and I was eligible for a phone upgrade. I found I could buy Samsung's Blackjack II in a refurbished model for a decent price. Actually I will be putting my Dell Axim on eBay in the next couple days, and expect to sell it for less than the phone cost.

A major use that I gave my Dell Axim was with Bible software. I have used both PocketBible by Laridian and the BibleReader program from Olive Tree. I had different Bibles that I used in each program. In PocketBible, I mainly had English Bibles (a number of different versions, including Study Bibles), and in the Olive Tree program, I had three Spanish translations, the NET Bible, and the Greek New Testament from Gramcord. A selling point in doing this is that I would be able to get everything the PDA did, plus what the cell phone did, for less money than what I could get for the used PDA.
I owned the Bible versions in electronic format. I thought this would be a proverbial piece of cake. The phone arrived yesterday afternoon, and I really do like it. It is quite a bit smaller than the PDA was. While its basic footprint is a little larger (height and width) than the cell phone I was using, it is a LOT thinner than my old phone. All in all, it's a very small package. I was backing up Bible files, to transfer to the new machine, so that I could put the PDA back to its pristine condition. Then I read, much to my consternation (on Olive Tree's website), that the Gramcord program does not run on a Windows Mobile Smartphone. I was not happy! The difference between a Windows Mobile Pocket PC and a Windows Mobile Smartphone is that the Pocket PC uses a stylus to tap on or to write on the screen, whereas the Smartphone does not. I guess the tapping on the screen was a big part of using Gramcord Lite. In fact, frequently I would tap on a Greek word, and then the lexicon entry would pop up on the screen with the morphological description of the word.

The bilingual readers (Spanish/English) among us will understand my next statement: "No contaron con mi astucia." Olive Tree may say that the Gramcord Lite program does not run on a Windows Mobile Smartphone, but I know differently. You can take a look at a screen capture I did of Gramcord running on my Blackjack II just before I went to lunch. As you can see, Gramcord Lite does indeed run on a Windows Mobile Smartphone. All is well with the world. The text shown is Luke 10:30, which was the basis for an excellent sermon preaching in our chapel today by a deaf brother, Jose Abenchuchen. The message was translated from ASL into audible English, or else I wouldn't have gotten very much out of it.
Now I'll always have my Bible with me, and it won't take up much room in my pocket. Life is good!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Happy Birthday!

April 8 is a good day! I was baptized into Christ on April 8, 1962 (has it been that long?), and my daughter-in-law, Emily, was born on April 8.

We are family! And we share a common birthday! Happy Birthday, Emily!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

World's Largest Swimming Pool in Chile

Lola Mitchell (our friend and long-time forwarding agent) sent me a note about the World's Largest Swimming Pool, now certified by Guinness, which is located at a resort in Algarrobo, Chile. We used to go to summer camp near El Tabo, not too far south of Algarrobo, and used a vacation home of a friend a couple time just south of Algarrobo.

Check out this video from Reuters about it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gregory Fish is the Featured Filmmaker on SermonSpice.com

Our son Greg now has the distinction of being the Featured Filmmaker on SermonSpice.com. He has worked hard to produce a number of excellent short videos, both in English and in Spanish. Check it out here.

Way to go, Greg!