Court Decision: Disappointed with Amazon.com

Earlier this week, I was scanning an ariticle from CNN.com in which the Supreme Court reversed an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals judgment on whether a man was “pandering” child pornography.  The 11th Circuit said he was not.  The Supreme Court reversed that, and said “Yes, he was”.  Thus, a Mr. Williams will go to jail 5 or more years.  (more…)

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Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 1:39 am  Comments (2)  

Introducing … The Introducing Series!

A few years ago when I was in grad school, I was talking with friends at the Christian Student Center about some now long forgotten philosopher, and a studious friend remarked that I should read an “Introducing” book about the person.  He explained that they were a series of well written short introductions (something like the “For Dummies” series) that were illustrated.  Yes, a comic book of a sort.  So, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to check one out.  I have recently been diving into these books again, and felt it was worth a detailed post. 

I have found my friend’s advice to be right on target.  For the most part (there are a few lemons out there), these books are an indispensable guide to get an appreciation of many subjects.  In particular the religious guides, philosopher biographies and the mathematics and science books are very good.  (more…)

Published in: on May 7, 2008 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Reading ‘The Hobbit’ for the first time

Well, I read the seven book Chronicles of Narnia set to Isaac sometime ago.  I really enjoyed that, as I had never previously read six of the seven books.  I had read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, several years ago but did not enjoy it nearly as much as when I read with Isaac (and sometimes Bailey, too!).  So, the literature adventure continues, as I decided to read The Hobbit with Isaac.  (more…)

Published in: on August 8, 2007 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ever Try Reading … The Apocrypha?

The Apocrypha is a word that means ‘hidden’.  Although not particularly accurate in this case, this is what several books are referred to that were written in the time between the Old Testament and New Testament eras (although one or two were likely written during or even after the NT was completed); it can also be referred to as the ‘OT Apocrypha’.  There are 18 total books in the Apocrypha (as referred to by Protestants).  They are: 1, 2, 3, and 4 Maccabees, 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Letter of Jeremiah, Baruch, Additions to Esther (Greek), Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews (in Daniel ch. 3), Susanna & Bel and the Dragon (chapters 13 & 14 of Daniel, respectively), Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Ben-Sirach (a.k.a. Ecclesiasticus), Prayer of Manasseh, and Psalms 151.  

I had heard of the Apocrypha for most of my life (my dad told me about it when I was little; I only knew just a little of it then).  I had never read it until this past year; I recently finished, so I decided to post some about it.  It took a while to finish reading, as I tended to stray away and back again over the year; it is actually about the same length as the NT, so it is not very long, relatively speaking.  I decided to read it in the Good News Translation with Deutercanonicals / Apocrypha from the American Bible Society; this is a modern language version that I especially like.  It is extremely straightforward and easy to read.  For the meticulous student, however, there are other translations that might be more appealing (I will mention some that I know of later in this post). 

(more…)

Published in: on August 8, 2007 at 2:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Finishing Up the Strange Interest … For Now

I think that I finally just had enough of the creation-evolution debate; this is my reason for looking into it even more!  I like to browse the books on Amazon.com a lot.  This debate has been an interest of mine for sometime, so I look at several books related to this subject.  What gets very wearisome is looking through the comments on the books.  It is generally pretty easy to find excellent reviews by which you can “size up” a book: I appreciate thoughtful readers and their comments a lot.  What is majorly annoying is the condescending and arrogant ones — sadly, usually on both sides.  So, I decided to investigate “the other side” for myself. (more…)

Published in: on August 7, 2007 at 2:03 am  Leave a Comment  

A Familiar Voice

I’ve been pretty negative about the state of the world lately.   In fact, I found myself so distraught that I needed to speak with a familiar voice.  I decided to call a mentor from my days at Tennessee Tech; he’s not a faculty member there, although I suppose he could be, if there were a Christian Studies department.  My mentor, Paul, has a calm, reasoned way of looking at any issue that I have ever brought to his attention.  For example, after 9/11, I felt compelled to call him in order to get some perspective (particularly about Islam) in order to make sense of that situation.  I think that we all seek a source of some familiar comfort when we are troubled. 

Anyhow, I called Paul (and wife Barbara — a lovely person, I might add) to just visit and find out how they are doing.  (more…)

Published in: on May 2, 2007 at 4:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Data Crystal

A show I really enjoy watching is the sci-fi series Babylon 5.  It originally aired between 1993 and 1998 (not counting the short-lived sequel, Crusade, and a handful of made for TV movies).  I now have to (sigh) resort to watching it on the DVD sets that I have collected when I get the urge.  One story device that made a fairly frequent appearance was the “data crystal”. It always seemed like there was a massive amount of information that needed to be preserved (and transferred to somewhere by hand, no less), so a “data crystal” was always used for this purpose.  Our present-day “data crystals”, CD-ROMs and DVDs, serve a similar purpose.  This post is simply to convey my amazement at how much information can be stored on these things.

I recently acquired The Essential IVP (InterVarsity Press) Reference Collection, a CD with 13 large and 4 small reference books by IVP on it.  This is quite astonishing, if you think about it — the package mentions that there are over 10 million words (!) of “quality content” on the CD; this also translates to “over 12,000 pages of printed material in one convenient package”!  Wow.  Furthermore, as you would expect, there are terrific search features that essentially weave all the books into one giant reference book.  And, there are many features that I have not begun to explore, but I have seen enough to marvel at it.  (Kim surely smiles when she thinks that I got this CD instead of more copious quantities of paper to store somewhere in our house!)  The neat thing is that I was interested in buying several of these books in paper form, before I came across the CD.   Which reminds me of yet another benefit to the CD: so many books for so little (relatively speaking) $$ !!  Four of the IVP academic dictionaries that I considered buying cost as much as this 17 volume set! 

I really look forward to utilizing this great tool (along with my QuickVerse version 6 (ca. 1999!)) in order to understand God’s Word better.  What a great invention the CD is!

Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 3:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Life Group Changes (Christian History 101?)

This past Sunday we had a somewhat uneventful Life Group meeting.  No sparks flew.  No hard feelings were expressed.  In general it was a very smooth flowing, relatively uninterrupted (by children, that is) discussion among most of the core group.  Now that we had a somewhat uneventful group is not unusual; what was great about this meeting is that a few incremental changes were decided on that could really kick off a new era for our group.

 The biggest change is that, once a month, the men will take charge of the kids so that the women can have their own prayer fellowship / study time / accountability time.  (more…)

Published in: on March 6, 2007 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Thanksgiving Visit

Thanksgiving was a bit different for us this year.  Due to the unplanned trip we made in October, we spent our first Thanksgiving here instead of visiting family in Tennessee.  The good news was that Kim’s parents came down to see us.  (more…)

Published in: on November 28, 2006 at 4:24 am  Comments (3)  

Update to Borg … Narnia

In my post My Favorite Borg, I mentioned discovering the Star Trek Fan Collective sets.  I got the Borg set and have now finished viewing it.  It was really outstanding.  The 14 episodes (or 16, if you break up Dark Frontier and Endgame into their original versions) covered many aspects of the Borg.  In fact, I had never seen from Voyager: Scorpion, Part I on.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Although Scorpion, Parts I & II were pretty good (though obviously borrowing from B5), probably my favorite of the new episodes was Dark Frontier, Parts I & II.  The story and acting were top notch.  I'd still have to say that my overall favorite Borg stories are The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I & II, along with Star Trek: First Contact (not in the set).  It was nice to reboot my ST interest, as I have all but exhausted the B5 material.  Now it's on to STFC: Time Travel!

As for Reading Narnia with the Kids, I have been continuing to read with the books in story order (not published order).  We started with The Magician's Nephew, then went through The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  We are now two chapters in to The Horse and His Boy.  I continue to be impressed with Lewis and his ability to translate the faith into compelling fantasy myths.  The kids seem to be not only following the stories, but (at least moderately – !) enjoying them as well.  I am committed to reading with them for a long time.  I know that it will be rewarding not only for them, but for creating cherished memories for me too.

Published in: on June 26, 2006 at 1:16 am  Leave a Comment