A Level 81 in a World of Noobs

posted by Jeffrey on Friday, April 28, 2006 at 9:14 AM

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So this is me. Well, no its not really me, its a screen shot of my character in a MMORPG game called Runescape. In this screen shot I'm decked out in my full rune armor, helm of Zammorak, amulet of power, rune scimitar, zombie boots, and completing the ensemble are red gloves and cape.

I have been playing this game on and off, for a few minutes, here and there, for about a year. Recently I was playing when I thought to myself, "Wow, couldn't I be using this time a lot more productively?" No sooner had I thought that, a "friend" popped on to the server [or "world"] I was on. He came to the place I was to train on some "moss giants" and we began to chat.

Suddenly, without warning, he asks, "are you a Christian or something?" I inquired as to what provoked him to ask such a question. He said that because I'm nice to the "noobs", I must be a Christian. You have to understand, the world of Runescape is full of players who feel that their higher level has earned them the right to become agitated for no reason with noobs (new players of a lower level), forgetting that they themselves were once noobs. This normally results in a stream of swearing (which is censored out with # signs) and derogatory remarks regarding the afore mentioned noobs.

I happen to be a rather high level player, level 81 to be exact, and my civil treatment of the noobs was apparently odd for someone of my level to my even higher leveled friend, with whom I was chatting. Right then and there, training on moss giants, we entered into a spiritual conversation that I hope will continue in the future. I learned that my "friend" is an atheist, hates everyone, goes to a Christian school (in Sweden, where he lives), and pretty much hates life in general.

Hmm...interesting that such occurrences can take place in an online game. I never expected it.

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Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God...

posted by Jeffrey on Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 2:13 PM

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Jim's book cover...and the Unlikely People Who Help You. This is the title of a book written by my mate, Jim Palmer. [Oh, wait a second, that is "mate" in the way that the English and Aussie's use it, not in the way Americans tend to think about it. Yikes, sorry Jim.]

Anyway, Jim is a great thinker, writer, and friend. If you'd like to know more about him and his book, he blogs over at Divine Nobodies.

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One Of Our Own Lost His Wife...

posted by Jeffrey on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 8:13 AM

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One of our own Nashville bloggers, Terry Heaton, unexpectedly lost his wife of 18 months last night. She was merely 41 years old. No words can express our sorrow Terry.

In his quick, informative, post this morning he wrote:
My precious and beautiful wife, Allie, passed away during the night. I found her lifeless body on the floor of the bathroom at 3:30 a.m. The paramedics did everything they could, but she was already gone. We have no idea what happened. She was young (41). She was fit. She was so full of life that it's, frankly, very hard to believe she is gone.

I'm in shock and obviously grieving, but I wanted to let you know and write a few words about what she meant to me. It's my way.

She was my life, folks. She was my inspiration, the one who reached in and brought out all my essays. With her unrelenting encouragement, I've written 65 or so essays about broadcasting, postmodernism and new media. None of that would've been possible without my Alicia Faith.

She was everything to me, and I worked hard to let her know that. I'd been married a couple of times before she came back into my life a few years ago, and I wasn't very good at it. She was different, so very different, and with her, I honestly felt the love, respect and support that the experts talk about when describing good marriages. She was my rock, too, and I don't know what I'm going to do without her.

I'll likely not be blogging for awhile. We don't know about funeral arrangements and all that just yet, but I'll try to let you know the when and where. Meanwhile, I could sure use your prayers right now. No man ever expects to bury his bride, especially one so young and healthy.

She knew I loved her, and I knew she loved me. We were fortunate and blessed for that. We just talked about it yesterday, about how our love had actually grown since our wedding 18 months ago. I'm so very lucky to have had those months with such a precious and pure soul. Words cannot express how much I miss her.

May God hold her safely in His arms now and forever.

Feel free to stop by his blog and offer your sympathy, encouragement, and prayers.

Icelandic Summer

posted by Jeffrey on Thursday, April 20, 2006 at 4:17 PM

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I just discovered through happenstance that today is the first day of summer in Iceland. I don't know why but I just find it mildy ironic that a country named Iceland even has summer. Yes, yes, to all you old school Mighty Ducks 3 movie buffs, I know the adage, "Greenland is covered with ice and Iceland is very nice."

Anyway, legend has it (in Iceland) that if the night before the first day of summer is extremely cold, then winter and summer "freeze together". Supposedly, it is a good omen for the upcoming summer months. I wonder how cold it got in Iceland last night.

This was definitely the most pointless post in the history of this blog.

We'd Need 5.2 Planets to Live Like Me

posted by Jeffrey on at 1:49 PM

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So Saturday is Earth Day. Thanks to a little survey that Brittney at NiT linked to today, I've recently learned that if everyone lived their lives as I do, we'd need 5.2 planets.

What?! How can that be? Shaunna and I aren't wasteful of any utilities or food; we both dirve vehicles with good gas mileage; we plant, garden, preserve, and enjoy the environment of our planet; who came up with this survey?

Well, I'm going to hopefully assume that the reason for my apparent environmental strain was my "almost every meal" answer to the "how often do you eat meat products" question. We do eat fish or chicken with nearly every meal.

Anyway, enjoy this year's Earth Day. Anyone doing anything special?

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Perplexing History of Easter

posted by Jeffrey on Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 9:57 AM

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Easter is a celebration with quite an interesting origin. It is different from Christmas in that we know that the celebration is at least close to the actual date on which the events took place. The fact is, we don't (and can't) actually know the exact date that Christ was crucified. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke put the last supper, a Passover seder, on the 15th of Nissan with the execution following that next day. John's gospel, however, places the last supper early in the day on the 14th of Nissan with Jesus' crucifixion later that same day. Most scholars hold to Matt, Mark, and Luke's accounts. Since the Jewish calendar doesn't stay exactly consistent with our calendar from year to year, we can at least figure out the approximate date of Christ's death and resurrection.

Since we know the crucifixion was during Passover (Pesach in Hebrew), why did the Church choose to celebrate it in correspondence with pagan fertility rituals? Yeah, that's right, in Western traditions we celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon since the spring equinox. By the way, did anyone else actually notice how awesome and bright the moon was last night?

The name Easter comes from a pagan goddess called Eastre (or Eostre) who was worshipped by the Saxons of Northern Europe. When second century Christian missionaries wanted the Saxons to accept Christianity, they decided to use the name Easter for this holiday so that it would match the name of the Saxons own spring celebration, and likewise, the name of their goddess. This was supposed to make it more comfortable for them to accept Christ (now there's some theology for ya). The goddess Eastre's symbol on earth was the rabbit, which for obvious reasons, was a sign of fertility.

Similar goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean and were also celebrated in accordance with the spring equinox. Some of those goddesses were Aphrodite, Ashtoreth, Astarte, Demeter, Hathor, Ishtar, Kali, and Ostara.

So whether we observe Christ's death and resurrection but only one time a year, every single day, or somewhere in between, may we do so that our faith will not be, as the apostle Paul stated, futile (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

Some sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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Blog Facelift

posted by Jeffrey on Friday, April 14, 2006 at 8:16 PM

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Well I finally got to give this blog a MUCH needed facelift! I changed the header and added a second sidebar but kept the whole page able to fit to the 1024 x 768 resolution that the vast majority of the readers here apparently utilize--thanks to my StatCounter.com tracker for that handy info.

Oh yeah, and I'm using Qumana as my handy new desktop blog client. It puts about 3 extra lines at the bottom of each post for some reason, sorry bout that. Hey, its free--I'm not complaining. So far the extra lines is the ONLY downside I've found to it.

Bare with me as I allocate sidebar information and links to a more aesthetically pleasing layout. Any suggestions? They'd be more than welcome.

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Counting the Omer

posted by Jeffrey on at 4:06 PM

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Count the what? Yeah, the omer. It is a Jewish unit of measure. According to the Torah, in Leviticus 23:15-16 and Deuteronomy 16:9-10, God's people were (and still are, if you're a devout Jew) to count the days from Passover to Shavu'ot. This period is known as "the Counting of the Omer" and lasts from the 16th of Nissan to the 5th of Sivan (April 14th to June 1st on our calendar).

Sound silly and pointless? Only at first glance. This festival was instituted during the days when God's people were under the Law of Moses (contrast to the grace of Christ later). The counting of the omer was to remind the people of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus when God brought His people out of slavery in Egypt, and Shavu'ot, which is the celebration of the giving of the Law (Torah) to Moses on Mt. Sinai. To the devout Jew, it is symbolic of the fact that delivery from bondage was not complete until the Torah was received.

I, for one, feel that since the Jesus who indwells us today lived and taught (in his physical body that is) in the Law abiding Jewish culture of the 1st century, it just might be important that I understand a little bit about that culture and school of thought. I heard a saying somewhere once that said, "you can't know where you're going until you find out where you've been". Extremely cliche, but true nonetheless. Anyway, I'm finding incredibly intriguing things for me, a follower of Jesus in this 21st century, from studying and meditating on these ancient things and if you'd like, I encourage any who may stumble in here to do the same.

Happy Passover.

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Martian Meditation

posted by Jeffrey on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 at 2:09 PM

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I'm home sick today--as I was for the 2nd half of yesterday as well :-(. Everyone be sad for me. However, my sickness has afforded me the opportunity to catch up on several daytime tv shows on the History Channel. Say what you want, I already know it, I'm a nerd.

Anyway, I watched a show called UFO Files. I am one of those who is fascinated by the age old question harbored by all humans, whether they admit it or not, "are we alone?". Regardless of the answer, my next question is why?

If we're not alone, then why has God given us no clues that there are other beings in the universe besides us? Or wait, maybe He has and we have chosen to be blind to them. If there are other creatures, does He love them? Has he redeemed them as he has humans? Will we share Heaven with them? More importantly, are they part of God's kingdom as we are?

If we are alone, then why such a vast and mysterious universe? Could it be that God, in His foreknowledge, knew that we would arrive at our current (and future) capabilities as a race and begin to explore the mysteries beyond our world? Did He purposely create the expanse of the universe for these days so that we might discover new depths of His mystery and character and goodness that cannot be learned while grounded on the Earth?

How about a third and final scenario. What if we are presently alone in the universe, but there have been other civilizations that lived looooong ago on other planets. What if there are civilizations that will arise on other planets long after humans are gone? What if they will look at structures on our world with the same questions as we look at features on worlds in our galaxy. Like, for example, this picture of what appears to be a face on the planet Mars.

Whatever this structure is, it is nearly 2 miles from end to end. Do you think it is a natural geographical feature or artificially made by some civilization of long ago? Regardless of your answer, do you think it has any effect, past, present, or future, on the kingdom of God?

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Sleeping Around with Gods (yes, that's plural)

posted by Jeffrey on Monday, April 03, 2006 at 10:16 AM

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Yesterday my wife and I hooked up with a couple of friends from out of town to go hear Donald Miller speak at the People's Church in Franklin. In addition to listening to my wife read some portions aloud to me, I've only skimmed a few portions of Blue Like Jazz. I was glad to see that the conversational tone that he projects in his writings is constant in person as well.

He spoke on the Lord's Prayer and shared some very interesting stories that illustrated a couple of points he made. I'll share one with you.

When speaking at a University not to long ago he was asked a question that he had not heard before. The young girl addresses him during the question and answer portion and says something like, "Don, it seems to me that as you explored spirituality you settled very early on Christianity without giving objective consideration to other religions such as Islam and Buddhism. So without fair consideration of all religions, how can you Christianity is the truth?" Don said he stopped to think for a second and realized that this girl was right. He had indeed settled on Christianity without in depth consideration of other religions.

After processing this question, he responded to the girl with something like, "I guess you're right. But you come to the table with a presupposition that I do not share. You come with the presupposition that Christianity is a religion, I come to the table with the belief that is a relationship. You see, I am married to Christ spiritually. Just like a husband and wife are viewed as one, so am I and Christ. With that being the case, your question sounds to me as this, 'Don, how can you know that your wife is the woman you intend to love for all time and to grow old with if first you don't sleep with all the other women on the face of the planet to make an objective decision on what is truth?'."

Wow. I can't say I've ever viewed the reality of our marriage relationship to Christ from that point of view before--but it was a good viewpoint. It made me think, and as those of you who know me or have read here for a while, you know I love to think.

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