Monday, May 30, 2005

Powerpoint Background Images

I am back from the coast at Waldport, OR as previously mentioned and am trying to get motivated to finish the Witness CD. I have heard that James Wood knows some people from Waldport, which reminds me of his current venture into self-sustaining.

He (and his wife) have begun an attempt to raise a little extra cash flow for grad school by taking pictures and reformatting them for use in Powerpoint. You can find James ranting about many Powerpoint faux pas and his current one is leading him to do something about the problem. His new website is being filled up with pictures that they have taken and are making them available to everyone. All he asks is that you leave a "tip" via Paypal (there is a button at the top of his website) and you can use the images as much as you want, royalty-free!

PowerPoint Images by James Wood

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sunglass Contact Lenses?

I thought this was pretty cool. They have made sunglass lenses worn as contacts, marketed toward athletes that don't want peripheral-blocking sunglasses on their face. The coolest part about it: they give you "scary eyes".

This is the article:
Performance-Enhancing Contact Lenses?

Monday, May 23, 2005

My Wonderful Weekend

Probably many of my faithful readers have heard about my fantastic weekend of breaking down cars and delayed flights, but none have heard it from yours truly.

I left Salem for Portland at around 10:30 am on friday to meet up with someone at noon to catch a flight to Sacramento for a youth rally in Stockton (where I grew up). Right around Wilsonville my car lost power and began to slow down. I was able to reach the N. Wilsonville exit in time to pull off to the side of the road. I had no power and nothing but a faint clicking sound when I tried to restart the car. Apparently you don't need power to run your hazard lights though, since they worked just fine. (?)

I call up Jason, who is at the coast, then Dwayne, who is helping move stuff, then Christi, who doesn't answer her phone. The last person I call is Eric, who through the true act of friendship agrees to drive to Wilsonville to sit and wait with my car for a tow truck to arrive, while I fly to Sacramento to enjoy sunshine and smog. (for Eric's side of the story, see his post)

Eric proceeds to find my car sitting helpless on the exit and is able to start it and get it into a parking lot. He then drives back to Salem, picks up his mother, drives back to N Wilsonville to get my car and limps it to Salem. He removes the suspect alternator, takes it to the parts place, reinstalls it after find it to be not faulty, and charges my battery.

While doing that, I am enjoying a great weekend at probably the smallest youth rally I have ever been. The first day there were 40 teens and the second there were 25. Despite the numbers, everyone had a wonderful time, and I also was able to spend time with my parents and raise some money for church planting.

After leading worship at church on sunday, Tom Gaumer and I drove to Sacramento to catch our 3:40pm flight back to Portland. When we arrive, we find that our flight has been delayed due to "fog in San Diego". We later find out that the delays are due to some terrible air traffic controlling. Tom and I find some things to do in the Sacramento Airport to pass the time. When we finally do get our flight and make it to Portland, it is about 9:30pm. My sister picks me up to take me to Salem, but we need to stop at her place and get some stuff that I left there, and while still in Portland, one of her headlights go out and we have to stop at Fred Meyer and replace it. I finally get home around 11:30pm and my sister still has to drive home.

It turns out probably all that is wrong with my car is the battery, I had fun on my trip and raised some money, and I was able to see family and friends. I also got to wear shorts and flip flops and didn't wear a jacket all weekend.

(I considerend making every word in this post a different link, but I figured that would just be ridiculous)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Postmodernism Against the Backdrop of Relativism

This thought of value judgments placed in a postmodern world made me think of some thoughts I read in the current McLaren/Sweet book I am reading and my thoughts on what they say.

They contrasted secular relativism versus Christian relativism. My take on it is that relativism may not necessarily be the same thing as postmodernism. With relativism there is no reference point from which to judge anything. Everything is related to each other but there is no one thing to base anything on in an always-shifting, ever-moving world. Christian relativism simply looks like modern Christianity to me. If the reference point is God, what keeps us from assuming we can have it all figured out?

Postmodernism comes with the belief that everything is connected and allows for some sort of moral string of truth, whether that string comes from within or from an outside source. Whether or not this truth can be totally known by someone is something that should not be assumed, yet this truth remains.

In Christian postmodernity, if "truth is the way God does (or sees) things" (Calvin Seeveld), then none of us can really do or see that truth in its entirety. If seeing truth is to see things exactly as God sees them, perhaps the truth would kill us, just as God's glory would kill us if we were to see it in its entirety.

I suppose the language we use doesn't do this justice and I could be talking myself into circles (so help me out!), but as long as the idea that we always examine what we believe to be truth and not expect the same truth to be followed by other communities, or even be believed by others within our own communities, then we can possibly come to know God better. I don't buy into the thought that allowing for questions and mixing of different communities, other denominations or faith traditions, will dilloute the Gospel. If the Gospel is truth, it will weed out that which is not truth.

Of course there is a flip side to this, in being against relativism is no excuse for legalism. The defense I see today for moderns against postmodernism is that string of truth is assumed that it is attainable (or already attained) knowledge by us. Many moderns value truth and morals (as they probably should), but place unwarranted boundaries on people in other communities (as James has talked about in my previous post) with differing values. This is especially dangerous when placing Christian morality upon unchurched people and inhibits us from doing something else Christians should value: loving our neighbors.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Value Judgements and Subjective Comparison

In honor of making cosmetic and functional changes to my blog, I thought I'd quote some C.S. Lewis. (can't you see the connection?)

"The human mind is generally far more eager to praise and dispraise than to describe and define. It wants to make every distinction a distinction of value." - C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
He describes how people tend to place value judgments on everything rather than letting things be what they are. An example he uses places one poet against another saying "this poet is better than that poet", and is asking the question "can we even do this?" After reading more and more C.S. Lewis, I have begun to find grinding points in his writing style that I just don't like, however, his logical movements through thought, and his thoughtful analysis of human nature aid my thoughts into deeper contemplation and other facets of imagination. I think what Lewis is saying (both him and now I) is that saying "Mozart is better than Beethoven" or "my brother's blog is better than your brother's blog" or even "spaghetti is better than pizza" (which is simply a hands down incorrect statement; pizza pwns spag) are all silly pointless arguments.

The danger lies in using the same thought process toward things that matter such as "this person's life is more important than that other person's life", or "my way of thinking about faith is right and yours is wrong". Postmodernity demands that when comparing things against each other, value judgements demean both of those things. Descriptions allow the things to compliment each other and in "good" postmodernity looks for the good in both. This is not to say that each of those things does not strive for excellence, but merely keeps them from being forced into a hole of value without a chance to improve.

I'm not sure if C.S. Lewis was a postmodern. I'm pretty sure he's not from what I've read of him and his thought processes. This idea of not placing value on things, but rather letting things be what they are and describing and giving fluid definitions is very much a postmodern mindset. It leads me to believe that if even a modern thinker such as Lewis finds this idea to be true, then there might be some validity behind it.

Having seen some of the changes being made to this blog, before you go to all of blogdom claiming "Tim Lewis' blog is by far greater than all other blogs" think of Lewis' (both his and mine) words. Though this blog may be the very much awesome, there are plenty of other blogs that are also the very much awesome, and some of them happen to be listed to the right. ----->

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

God Continues to Provide

I had not thought of my trip to Pepperdine as a fundraising trip. Though it is something that I think about often, I had realized my trip to be at most a networking trip to get people on board with what we are doing in Salem and with Kairos (which it was). I had no idea what would happen simply by returning to my room early from friday evening's church planting lecture.

At around 10:30PM, after the 9PM Kairos lecture, I decided I was tired and didn't want to stick around and press any more flesh with potential church planting big wigs and supporters. I figured having me gone wouldn't really impact greatly the amount of support we are getting from all over the country and the rest of the team could handle it. When I returned to my room I figured I would talk to my mother (who was also at the lectures) since I wouldn't get to see her for a while and I wanted to hear what she had learned that day. Her uncle (my great uncle) was also in the room getting ready for bed. I had grown up knowing uncle Bill and always liked him, but didn't really know the extent to how much he was connected to our family. We all talked about the different classes we had gone to that day and week about the church and its attitude toward homosexuality, why people leave religion, worshiping God through the Psalms, and numerous others. Our conversation then drifted over to the church and what can be done right to redeem what has been done wrong by it and other related topics.

After about an hour I decided I was getting sleepy (kind of like I am now at 1:30AM) and went into my room to get ready. Uncle Bill shortly came into my room with a handful of cash and shoved it at me. He told me how interested he was in what we are doing in Salem and how he thinks what we are doing is good for Christianity and for the Kingdom. He also told me how proud he was of me and that he wanted to support what I am involved with. My mother told me the next morning (at 5AM) that he wanted to get newsletters and know about future opportunities for support and encouragement.

And all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

Monday, May 02, 2005

In Honor of Our Trip

I thought that since many of our blogging community will be gone to Malibu, California at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures this entire next week, I would post something somewhat related. Apparently Nicole Kidman has taken time out of her acting schedule to take an Old Testament class from a bible professor at Pepperdine, Dr. Robert Cargill. I'm trying not to assume it is as much a fad as Madonna's "studies" in the Kabbalah (her seven years, apparently she hasn't learned very much other than very surface unimportant, yet faddish things, according to Kabbalah experts) but I like to think that God is working here and believe He has the power to radically influence people's lives. I pray this chance to work in the life of an influential Hollywood personality breathes the Holy Spirit into the media, considering its looming destruction, thanks to my predictions in the previous post.

Don't believe me? Read the article for yourself, and don't miss us too much while we're gone. (apparently msn updates their stories without changing the url, so I posted a different article on the same subject)