Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lecture Notes: Same Sex Marriage

Notes of a lecture I attended at Concordia University, titled "Blessing same-sex unions to save Christian marriage".

I have to say overall, that I want to double-check the claim about no marriage celebrations in early Christianity. Since I'm thinking of a very non-traditional model for Christian marriage, this could be helpful.
And in case you wonder, that model makes room only for man+woman... has anyone ever read Romans?

Dr. Mark Jordan, Emery University
Concordia University, H-110, Oct 12th, 2006
============ Introduction
narration of first gay marriages authorized in San Francisco.
Grim statistics show decline in marriage. Eagerness of same-sex couples sounds very good.
Why threatening? Many feel an attack religion.
Religion was involved in the SF experiment.
Real marriage experts are organizers, photographers. church is backdrop.
In the SF case, churches weren't backdrops.
Seriousness was frightening: churches support same-sex marriage, glimspe of religious-free democracy.
Churches supporting same-sex marriage: there is a fight between two positions in christianity. Speaker doesn't like that one side claims having it right.
issue of marriage show problems of matters of states vs religious responsability. Cannot easily split church and state.
Many want more of marriage than just the ceremony. Wants us to dwell IN the confusion.
Wants to persuade: we can scrutunize the confusion, understand the quarrels in Christianity.
Same-sex marriage stris up history of Christian marriage. Took centuries to establish, same-sex brings up the ugly history.
For the secular side, same-sex couples point out to ambivalences in our existing arrangements.
Instead of picturing christian marriage of a big banquet with exclusion, christian marriage should be seen as a big family quarrel.
============ Ambivalence on the religious side
Christian theology on marriage have weak Scriptural fundations. We do not see a detailed portrait of marriage in the NT.
Apostles: follow Jesus as single men, tell not to get married
Mary: "perpetual virginity"
Jesus dismisses familly for spiritual family.(Mt xyz, Lk: let the dead bury their own dead...)
They are family values, only when family is redefined. Church is abolition of family to a new definition. Where does marriage fit in there?
According to Paul, only Jesus' teaching on divorce was from him about marriage. Early christians debated on whether they should be married at all.
Gen 2 insufficient. In many case, multiple partners. By nature 1-1 contradicts Hebrew Bible. Laws set for polygamy in Israel... can't be against God's will. Problem to describe why its OK for patriach, but bad for christians to be polygamial.
Other thinkers: sex for procreation... but what about premarital, or sterile?
Same-sex pleasure is unjustified by reproduction arouses strains of christianity who is weary of pleasure.
Real issue: issue of pleasure in Christianity. Many acts OK today that was considered as sodomy before. The definition of "bad" shrunk to fit with homosexuals.
The supporters of same-sex marriage: deal with similar issues that Jesus (think Lepers). NT homoeroticism in Revelation.
Slow to develop theology and rites. Christians relied on other insitutions for marriage and welcomed the married. Assumed pluraristic society.
Ritual was at home only or government. Before 4th century, there was no christian wedding evidence in church. When it appears: jewish+roman+localisms. Wedding mass in 7th century. Church weddings were typically for virgins, others had to be wed outside.
Wedding theology emerges from civil+ethnic interactions
Priests deal as agents of the state too easily.
Requests for blessing from within the church, w/o legal gain. Opportunity to bring fully the redefinition of the family. Blessing of erotic desire. From compromise to counter-cultural.
=============== on the secular side
A big business. Time to arrage wedding overlasted the marriage in many cases. 15 B$ annual spending on marriages. In wedding shows, total subservience of church. Elements are culturally christian, recent eventions added to christian weddings, etc. Wedding planning treats christianity as a decorative in the master plan. God of wedding planning: God of romance that draws many worshippers.
Victory of true love over adversity. That's the creed. Queer wedding seen as more romantic than straight one. Evidence of power of religion to shape sex. Religion not just authorization/prohibition.
Can't resolve ambivalence in marriage, as it is inherent. Always was church/state hybrid. Protecting traditional marriage is protecting old political compromises.
We need to save christian marriage from itself by redefining it. What would the Savior want to bless? Christianity not erotic regulation but erotic inspiration.
All have a stake in asking churches to bless SSM. They will find that christian marriage will take a new life. In some churches design new rights to accomodate ssm, but first couple to show up is straight.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Strong Evidence on Bush Administration's Unpreparedness for 9/11

This is something well researched and very strongly presented by MSNBC... how the current US government has been lying and has simply not taken care of terrorism at all

Sunday, October 29, 2006

UK Pictures of Me

So... here's some proof I was in the UK. More pictures to come. I'm thinking of using Flickr to host my pictures in the future...

The famous London Bridge:

In Greenwich, with a ship behind

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Nice Linux Wallpapers

Have a look at some beauties:


Friday, October 20, 2006

Spin, Media and Fading News...

I loved Colbert!

Very smart commentary on how the hot stories just fade away...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Computer Pains

So, I committed to fix that sister's computer.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOh ye rebelious little one! You are putting on such a fight!
I spent the whole weekend working on it and I'm still not done. I had problems with Ubuntu... kept on getting corrupted images!
Well, it turns out that my problem is (I suspect) my DVD/CD burner. Using different software and media don't fix the issue, and burning the same CD at work works OK...

Gotta make a phone call to Dell tech support. I hope I have some warranty left.

As a sidenote, prepare to be scared: Jesus Camp is a documentary I have to see! Go watch the trailers. I am just... scared. I have this gut feeling that those kids won't end up as evangelizing soldiers of Christ, but more the kind of M-16A wielding soldiers of the government...

(Edit) It turns out that I did a Memtest86 on the little machine, and the RAM is bust. On the bright side, I installed openSUSE on my laptop and it even auto-configured my wireless connection... hmmm...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Couldn't Help It...

This was too funny to pass! See what happens when you don't learn math right?

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Geek Time! Family Time!

So, its the Canadian thanksgiving weekend!

I had my parents in town... but you'd think God would let that in the way of a few adventures? Think again!

The summary:
- some progress in my research, yet my prof goes unrealistic again
- campus devotional goes great!
- help a guy move in a... convicting... way
- got a hold of a sister in Lausanne on Skype. Its been a while I was trying to encourage her.
- music, music, music!
- movies: Syriana, Return of the Street Fighter, Animatrix
- first lab monitoring time goes as a breeze
- API madness

Before I get started with the rest of the week, let me say I had a good time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
My folks and I had a good meal on Saturday. My mom went to church with me and we had a great buffet at Casa Corfu afterwards. Monday was a day off, and I helped a sister who's trying to get wireless internet in her business, and was well thanked for my efforts by a nice meal!
On Tuesday, I went with my mom to the Botanical Gardens' China Garden. They have, every year, 'La Magie des Lanternes', chinese lanterns all over the place, built around a given theme. This year was celebration. I'll put the pics online soon enough.

some progress in my research, yet my prof goes unrealistic again

So, I managed to work a bit with my colleague and we hammered down the biggest parts of that paper ok at this point. Obviously, we could cut 4 pages of extra English if we really got down to it, but that's not the focus now.
At our weekly meeting with our supervisor, we had once more the whole argument on how we'd specify what we had to specify, although I thought we agreed on that months ago. No big change in the end, so things are still OK.
The thing is... he wants more examples done by next week. Nevermind the fact that I need to actually research that stuff, implement it, test it, refactor it, document it, convert it, build a performance benchmark around it, etc.
The other thing he requested will be relatively easy to do, although its just gonna be time consuming.

campus devotional goes great!

So, one brother shared one of his quiet times, and we did a game to discover each other. We had to write down a secret about ourselves on a piece of paper, fold it, and put it in a basket.
Then, we all picked a name, and we had to guess who the person behind the secret was. Lots of laughter, and nice discoveries.
Also, we had a birthday cake ready for one sister's birthday.

help a guy move in a... convicting... way

Someone I met a long time ago. He calls me and asks for some last-minute help packing. It should be quick, he says, because its just a room... just need to pack his books.
I swore when I entered the room. A tiny space, covered with books, newspapers, and whatever else.
And there were a lot of books. Mostly Bibles. In all translations, in multiple copies. And it was fullllllllllllllllllllll of it!
Suffice to say that I left feeling my hands so dirty that I didn't want to open my apartment door with them and that I really really want to have a clean room and household now. As much as it is sad to say, I just don't want to be like THAT nor anywhere close to it. I know it sounds like judgment, but it really is discernment.

got a hold of a sister in Lausanne on Skype. Its been a while I was trying to encourage her

Won't say too much of it. I just find it neat that God has got me there first, so that I can be of some use to her (I hope). Maybe He wants to take our friendship for great purposes? After all, the world is a small place, and God doesn't see our role to play in it as a small one.

music, music, music!

Listened to a mix and match of the Fulda Symphony Orchestra. There are some legal CDs on the web. I'll keep you posted with that I liked.

movies: Syriana, Return of the Street Fighter, Animatrix
After the devo, we watched a part of Animatrix. I like that DVD so much! You can learn the history behind the Matrix.
I watched another tidbit of Return of the Street Fighter, which is in the public domain now. Sometimes, I just need some gore.
For my brain, with my parents, I watched Syriana, from George Clooney. Very good movie about how the US' thirst for oil is messing up the world, with political plots left and right. A lot of mixed storylines make it very interesting.

first lab monitoring time goes as a breeze

So, this week, I had my first lab monitoring time. I actually stuck in 2 sessions, because I never really stepped in the labs before and I needed to figure out how things would work out.
So I discussed a few things with a colleague, and looked upon my dear friend, sourceforge for a solution. What did I find?
Super SSH!!! Ohhhhhh yeaaaaaaaah, that's the stuff!
Now, let me give you a hint of the problem: we have about 20 computers in that room, and they all need to be configured for our students. Do I look like a guy who'd like to log into each of them to type the same boring commands?
No! My lab monitoring time is all about being paid extra to do my work... oh, and helping the students. That too
;) (kidding). But, in my non-student-helping-time, I want to learn about tools and technologies that make my resumé more attractive, read my Bible, catch up on the 10'000 things I got to do in my life. Typing the same commands 20 times over isn't on that list, you'll notice.
What's when sssh comes in handy. In no time, I was able to configure all the computers into a farm, create a SSH identity key for automatic authentication, and use sssh to configure all the computers to accept my connections WITHOUT asking for a password. OOOOOOOOOH yeah!
Thats in my toolbox. Can you tell my geek side is happy?

API madness
I had some compiling issues with AFC and thus decided to transition to uthash after looking at some APIs. I transitioned one module fine, but the second was just causing me too many problems, so I rolled back to AFC and started working a bit on the code to fix it to my liking. That's neat about Open Source software. Maybe I'll end up contributing a lot of things to that project, who knows?

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Bluetooth Works!

I purchased a Motorolla H 700 on Ebay... it was a good deal overall.

I was struggling to use it on my PC however. When I connected, it was doing some annoying noise and the voice was not carrying through. I read Skype forum posts, googled... nothing!

Today, I tried another Google search, found back an old article I read already, then bothered looking at the user comments. I saw this thing about pressing the button after connecting by the PC. It wasn't for my model, but I tried it anyway... and it worked!

I'm now able to use my headset on Skype without using Vitaero, and record voice. The latter is actually the reason why I got the device in the first place, as I want to record sermons and put them on the web.

Two words for the non-techies: Happy Geek.

Monday, October 2, 2006

About to Break Down

Don't freak out just yet. There are good things happening in my life.

This Sunday, the church paid a bus to get us to Sherbrooke. We have a couple there trying to save a few souls, and they need encouragement every now and then. There, I meet someone I met in Switzerland and with whom I did that Vezelay experience.

Also, a workplace relationship has improved from fighty to understanding, so that's great!

I have a patched up frienship. The sister acted in a way that made me feel tossed out and we had a chance to explain each other and bring forgiveness in the equation. It still has a negative impact, but there is no beef anymore.

I feel I'm out of sleep, out of energy, and overly challenged in everything... school (not much getting done), ministry (same thing), household chores (roomates complaining that I don't clean up the place enough), contract (no action in the last 2 weeks), etc. They got down on me real hard at our household meeting yesterday. I hate cleaning. I'm not good a it, it takes time, and it doesn't look that much cleaner when I'm done with it. And I don't want to change, I want to have enough money to afford a maid to take care of that for me. I don't like infrastructure work very much. It comes down from my solitary past when my apartment was where I slept, worked and ate and that was it. I wasn't LIVING there, per se, so why should I care about the non-functional attributes (say, cleanliness) when the functional attributes were there? And yes, I did clean... just not that often.
My roomates joke about it telling me they're getting me ready for my wife. Although they are right, it doesn't change the fact that I'd gladly offer my future wife a break from household chores by outsourcing the responsability outside of our couple.

I need prayers for discipline, organization, health.

I went to a career fair, submitted a few resumes, took a few cards, and we'll see about that later. The purpose was just to get myself in the HR systems of those companies so that things would be faster to find myself a job when I'm finishing my degree. I am debating doing the governments' tests, since their timing is just bad.

At school, I've had lots of problems compiling some code that was working fine a month from now. I changed the API I used for the hash table to something lighter that didn't cause me trouble but I still have problems with AspectC++.