Archive for the ‘ RK ’ Category

It IS funny.

I took some heat from Mumon earlier, in the comments to my recent post about humor.

The problem, of course, did not revolve around the central issue of the post. Mumon usually tries to take a look from another angle, that I didn’t cover. He’s right though. I didn’t cover it, and that was for a reason. This post. The last one spoke about what was not funny. This post, on the other hand, I’ll talk about what IS funny – as well as address the questions Mumon raises.

First, Mumon’s questions/objections.

To start with, he zeroed in on the NASB’s slightly misleading use of the word “silly”, in Ephesians 5:4. The King James uses ‘foolish”, while the newer ESV does the same. I say only “slightly”, because the word silly doesn’t mean what he thinks it does. To quote Inigo Montoya… “You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means”.

The word “foolish” has a much more negative connotation (in slang) than “silly” – it also reflects an attitude of conscious rejection of it’s antithesis, rather than a playful, bantering fun-loving spirit. (However, in formal English, they are synonyms)

Silly, in standard English, can be a term of mild disapproval – someone who tends to frivolity, for instance. But it has a more derisive meaning ,as well. “a lack of wisdom or good sense; foolish”. To lack wisdom, by any standard, is simply not a good thing. It does not mean “having fun” – it means “lacking wisdom”, in the formal sense of the word. Now, in modern English slang, silly means simply to be playful. This is not the meaning of the word in the original Greek, however.

The word, in greek, is Morologia – which means “foolish talking”. However, it’s not as ambigious as all that. The root words for this compound word are lego and moroß.

lego
is, basically, “to speak”. moroß is foolish – or, impious/godless. It’s not precisely blasphmeous, per se – that is covered in another word in that verse – but, it is clearly “foolish” – as in lacking wisdom – that is addressed. Unwise speech.

So, I’ll leave it there.

Secondly, he was a bit of a smart aleck.

To my question: Why can’t I keep from laughing at what is crass, or ribald?

He answered:

You answered the question yourself: because evidently, you find them funny.

My question, I suppose, is different – and more to the point. Why do I find them “funny”? The incongruity of certain situations are, indeed, funny – the subject matter, however, is not. It’s not right, and it’s not what I should be laughing at. The answer is simple. I’ve let myself be trained, by repetition, that the crass and ribald, when related in the form of a joke, are “ok”. While if I heard them related as a story, I would not think so. In the slightest. In other words… you missed the entire point of the post. It was relating something that I’ve rediscovered about our culture – that if something we would consider to be wrong is covered over by the veneer of humor… it’s suddenly “ok”. How many comedies have set records for the most risque scenes… by making jokes out of them? How is it George Carlin makes his money again? Oh, yeah. Taking everything people consider wrong, and making jokes out of them. Nah, noone really does that, do they? Pssst. That is the bedrock for 90% of today’s humor on TV and movies – just media in general.

That isn’t ok, and it isn’t funny. It’s a sham. It’s camoflauge for sin, using the pattern of humor to hide it. That’s the tricky part. In other words, it’s possible to take your sense of humor more seriously than your dislike for sin – and your duty to imitate God, by being Holy, as He is Holy. THAT is the problem.

This is a key difference – and why I’m a Buddhist: if one can be mindful of the intent and attitude behind one’s activities, one doesn’t need them to be prescribed or proscribed by anyone else.

And I might also add that certain teishos- Dharma commentaries- contain some of the 7 words you can’t say on TV, and to good effect.

You can be mindful of the same in Christianity – but you cannot attempt to justify wrongdoing by hiding behind “oh, I meant it as a joke”. That’s why we’re told not to do it. So, I suppose you’re right.

That is a key difference, and not one I’d recommend.

And lastly…

You’ll be “free from the body of this death” soon enough; I hope you appreciate what you sense while you’re around, but mindfully…

I know; your mileage varies…

There is plenty of humor in the world without resorting to humor which portrays sin as “just a laugh”.

Which is the point of this post.

So, after that long preamble…


Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny.

Jokes about sin are easy. Everyone sins, and does it daily. Everyone wants to laugh at their own sin, and laugh at others. Otherwise, we’d have to take them seriously, wouldn’t we? Much easier to just laugh at them, isn’t it?

Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies they have already found a ridiculous side to it.

If you treat your sin as if it is a joke, pretty soon you’ll treat it as a joke, too. Imagine that. Repetition becoming habit? The devil, you say!

But, seriously now.

The joke – the humor – the fun… all of that is completely satisfactory. All of that is completely normal, and as much a part of human existence as any other could be. It’s the subject matter that, well.. matters. Paul says this:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Now, contrast that with Titus 2:

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

Get the picture? It’s like momma always said: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Except, in this case… it’s “if you can’t laugh at something nice – don’t laugh at all.”

That doesn’t mean don’t laugh. It means don’t laugh at things you shouldn’t laugh at.

What are things you can laugh at? The same things most people laugh at. The absurdities of life. The funny things your kids do. The funny things you do. When I say funny, I mean those things that strike you as absurd – as unlikely – as, well, funny. Your dad wearing a bucket on his head, and talking like Darth Vader. Your kids telling you all about an imaginary friend named “cup” – because he just made him as he was talking to you, and that was the first thing he saw.

Life. Life is fun. Life is, thus, funny. Sin, however, is not life. Sin is death. Sin is what caused death, is causing death, and is the cause of all death. Sin is NOT funny. God, even, is funny. He was pretty hilarious dresing down Jonah for worrying more about a pitiful plant than the city of Ninevah, for example. Or when, instead of striking down Nebuchadnezzar for his hubris in declaring himself to be a god… he struck down his mind, and reduced the most powerful man in the world to a grass-chomping quadruped.

That’s funny. Or, saving his three favorites from a fiery death in that same king’s furnace… and not even a hair on their head is singed, and their clothes look brand new. It’s strange, it’s not exactly normal. It’s funny. Imagine the look on Nebuchadnezzar’s face, when he sees these three young men he condemmed to die, walking out this insanely hot furnace. The look HAD to be priceless. Or, the look on Jonah’s face, when he realizes he’s been vomited up by a whale on the shores of Assyria – exactly where God told him to go in the first place. Just imagine that mental picture. Jonah shudders to his feet, amazed to be alive, and looks up and down the beach. Looks at himself. Looks towards Ninevah. Oh, man. That look must have been great. Hah!

We are funny beings. We think time is ours. We get ticked when we are inconvenienced, and we have “lost time”. It wasn’t ours to begin with. We get annoyed when things take too long, or we’re “cheated” out of time we “deserved”. It’s ridiculous. Laughing at ourselves is key, sometimes.

Laugh. Have fun. Be joyful. Rejoice in what God has given you, and what amuses you. Just don’t be amused at things which have no business being amusing.

Get it? Good.

Work Sucks.

That is all.

It is NOT funny.

I was reading… a post by Blestwithsons, which discusses humor.

I was struck by a line from the Screwtape Letters – which I should have remembered, and kept in the forefront of my mind recently.

Humour is for them the all-consoling and (mark this) the all-excusing, grace of life. Hence it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame.

I know this, and am often convicted (fleetingly) by my reaction to the type of humor which is found in a job such as mine – where the employee pool is made up, overwhelmingly, of rough, lower-class to lower-middle class males.

In short, innuendoes, foul language, crass speech… all of that. In fact, I’m often tempted to it myself. In short, I’m being an absolutely despicable witness to my peers at work.

There are several people at work who absolutely delight in “one-upping” the worst jokes of everyone else. In a way, they are very genuinely funny. They have excellent comic timing, their delivery is great… but their subject matter is as bad as anything I saw in the military.

I admit… when it goes on, I laugh just as hard as anyone else, once they start in on it. In hindsight, I’m sickened by it. Just the other day, my pastor was speaking on Ephesians 5- where it tells us:

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks

Coarse jesting… zing! Filthiness… zing! Ribald jokes, and obscenities, in short. I’ll take it a step further, and go along with what I was thinking about earlier. Laughing at those things eliminates any sense of shame about them. It’s encouraging it, and affirming it. I’m ashamed.

I’m supposed to be an imitator of God, not of the world. I’m going right along with it… and I’m no different than anyone else there, God help me. True, I don’t initiate the jokes, or tell them myself. That doesn’t matter, and that excuse won’t fly. Holiness is the aim – not some simple “I didn’t actually do it…” That’s an excuse that children make, when they try to get out of being involved in wrongdoing they encouraged, but didn’t perform.

It’s wrong, and I cannot engage in it. I cannot encourage it. I cannot even laugh at it.

A thousand bawdy, or even blasphemous jokes do not help towards a man’s damnation so much as his discovery that almost anything he wants to do can be done, not only without the disapproval but with the admiration of his fellows, if only it can get itself treated as a Joke. […] Any suggestion that there might be too much of it can be represented to him as ‘Puritanical’ or as betraying a ‘lack of humour’.

As Screwtape finishes…

Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny.

I call myself an apologist? I should be ashamed of myself. I know I can manage to be funny without being crass. I do so all the time. Why can’t I keep from laughing at what is crass, or ribald? Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

I won’t end on that note, however much I’d like to, in an orgy of self-flagellation. It’s so much more cathartic.

Paul says more than that.

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hasset you free from the law of sin and of death.

You can read the rest of Romans 8 here, which finishes the thought. I’m comforted by it, and I understand it. I’m just ticked at myself for falling into it.

Time to pray, confess, and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Then, ask the Spirit for those nudges as I go through my day tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be a better reflection of my Lord.

Because, really. It just isn’t funny. It’s the equivalent of “following the crowd”. However… “Be Holy, as I AM Holy.”

Yes, Lord.

A Realization

I’ve been working on a ton of other sites, mostly for family and church – slightly overwhelmed at the amount of work I have to do, to make them *just* right… and I just realized something. It probably isn’t anything profound, but it’s something.

I’ve had this blog up for a year, and my main site up for even longer… and I have never been happy with them. Not ever. I spend several hours per week just tweaking the layout, graphics, theme, or something else about this blog. More “behind-the-scenes” time than I’m really comfortable with admitting, frankly. I’ve spent roughly ten hours in the last 5 days just here. Not on any of those other sites – just here.

per·fec·tion·ism Pronunciation Key (pr-fksh-nzm)
n.

1. A propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards.

Instead of obsessing over perfection, I should be obsessing over excelling. I should concentrate on doing things to the best of my ability – within some sort of ordinate time constraints. I need to quit being such a tweaker. I’m slightly… well, ok, maybe more than slightly… obsessive compulsive, and it only shows in really nitpicky detail-oriented stuff. Like, well, code. Instead of tweaking, I should be studying, responding to current apologetics issues, and addressing much more important demands on my time. I need to leave the design alone, and finish what I’ve said I’m going to finish, instead of doing the equivalent of “comfort eating” – tweaking my blog.

I tweak my blog when I’m frustrated with how something is turning out elsewhere – because I know it’s code and layout inside out. I need to expand my horizons, and me skills, instead of endlessly circling around my own obsession with how I look – because, for web designers, this IS how we look, to the world… err… web.

I need to quit obsessing endlessly over trivia. I need to get my teeth into some meat, and start chewing, instead of nibbling on a familiar toy.

There’s probably a neat theological tie-in. I might find it later. For now, though… I just need to keep telling myself; there’s more to life than your blog template.

Which means I should just release it, and let someone *else* tweak it 😀

Or I should just go to bed. On that note… goodnight!

New Year? What about a New Man?

We all like to think that as we start a New Year, everything will be different. We make resolutions, we resolve, in effect, to be “new men”. I think, however, that as we resolve to do things, that if we refuse to set, at the center of these wanted changes, a truly efficacious agent of change, we will fail – and fail miserably.

Let me explain. We make resolutions, right? What is to keep us resolved to carry through with them? Self-discipline? I can’t speak for everyone, but my measure of self-discipline is pitifully small, and not up to the task of keeping me resolved to the type of things we routinely set as goals for ourselves. Not on my own, at least. What else could keep us resolved? Fear of failure? Embarrassment? What else?

Here’s my solution, and see if this makes sense.

This morning, we studied Ephesians 4:17-24, which, in my Bible, is entitled “The New Man”. I think it may have some lessons for us in how to become, in reality, the “New Man” we are supposed to be as followers of Christ.

It reads:

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

What does that have to tell us about becoming, in truth, a New Man?

Verses 17-19 explains what we should not do. The example used is the “Gentile” – not the physical racial groups known as “Gentiles” (or Non-Jews, which are the vast majority of the people of the world), but the spiritual Gentiles – those who are excluded (alienated in the NKJV) from the life of God, as verse 18 says. In other words, we are to take as examples those who have chosen the path antithetical to our own – and to do otherwise.

First, Paul says very clearly that this is not his message. He says he affirms “together with the Lord”. This is clearly an apostolic (on his authority as an apostle) command, and is directly from God.

Second, it is a directive to REFRAIN from doing the things which following – and, if you are already doing them, to stop. “No longer” is what he says. Interesting, that. That tells me that he is fully aware that all of us, to some degree, are embroiled in the way this other lifestyle does things. He is fully cognizant of this, and directly confronting it.

Thirdly, he explains what lies *behind* this process. The mind. Their minds are futile (devoid of truth and appropriateness – used as “vanity” in 2 Peter 2:18) in their endeavors, because they are missing the knowledge that is critical to supply what is lacking in the pursuits that Solomon calls “Vanity” – meaning, and purpose. A knowledge of God.

Their understanding is darkened” – “darkened” is the word skotoo, which is a metaphor for a blinded mind.

alienated from the life of God” – alienated is the word apallotrioo, which means ” to be shut out from one’s fellowship and intimacy”. Life? This is the same word Christ uses when He promises a life more abundant. That sort of life. The very life of God. How unimaginably heartbreaking – not only that there are those who are apart from that life – but that we choose to imitate them!

the ignorance in them” – ignorance refers especially to ignorance of divine things, or moral blindness. So, they (and we who choose to imitate them) are not only intellectually blind, but morally so!

“hardness of their hearts” – the word means to become “calloused”, to have their perceptions blunted – to be stubborn or obdurant – to become obtuse. In other words – to become dull, and unused to discerning things clearly.

So, the passage goes on to say, that callous leads to a lack of sensitivity – a lack of discernment – which leads to a wanton slide into the practice of sin. Sound familiar, Christians? Or non-Christians, for that matter.

A lack of perception leads to a lack of moral discernment, and a lack of moral discernment leads to increasingly sinful behavior.

But, the passage says – we did learn Christ in this way! We didn’t! We know better. It is a willful ignorance, and a willful slide into this morass.

Paul goes on to tell us that we have been taught the truth – and that truth teaches us that we are to lay aside our former selves, which are being corrupted, and we are to be *renewed* in our minds. We are to put on *new* selves, in the likeness of God (sound familiar? A life of God, mentioned earlier?) which were created in righteousness, in holiness, and in truth.

This is what we are to do.

Romans 12, which was our Sunday School text today, says something very similar.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

New Year’s Resolutions? How about a New Man Resolution, to go with it? Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Of my mind. Of your neighbor’s mind.

So, on that note: Here are my resolutions.

1. I resolve, with the help and sufferance of God, to spend time, daily, in the Study of the Word, and in prayer before Him.

2. I resolve, with the help and sufferance of God, to use my gifts in His service, following His plan to strengthen His Church.

3. I resolve, with the help and sufferance of God, to strive to become the spiritual head of my newly-formed family, and to take seriously the role which God has placed before me.

4. I resolve, with the help and sufferance of God, to place the Glory of God in the place it deserves – the primary place – and to make this the aim of all my endeavors.

5. I resolve, with the help and sufferance of God, to stop neglecting my talents for music, design, and writing, but to use them to the best of my ability for the duration of this year.

That’s it – those are my resolutions for this year. I covet your prayers, your advice, and your accountability.

Looking Back at Katrina

It’s now 3 months, and 13 days since Katrina, I do believe.

Something like that. I’ve been so swamped… so snowed under by just… life – that I haven’t really had a chance to share anything about it, save for a couple posts.

First, the actual hurricane itself. I watched the vast majority of it from outside in it. I was on my front porch until the eye of the storm passed over, here in Gulfport. After it did … I walked in it, up to Perkinston, which is… let’s see what Mapquest tells me.

25.79 miles. Now, although that’s quite a walk, think about when I walked it. The wind had died down to about 50-60mph when I started, but it was still raining pretty heavily. I started at about 12:30/1:00 pm, and got there about 7:30, I think. Not bad for that far, really. That wind, though. Walking in that is NOT easy.

Anyway, back to my impressions.

During the hurricane, it was an adventure. The kind of adventure guys really do like, and don’t really care if anyone thinks they’re crazy for liking. The wind made the house shudder, and shake. The trees’ branches were snapping off right and left, making an awful racket. The rain was driving so hard that it really was painful, when it hit you. Small objects were flying past you at 70+ mph – and all you could do was hold on. I’ll confess – I loved it.

I’m not crazy. I’m a typical guy, I think. I never felt like I was in *real* danger. But I knew I could have been. Adrenaline makes you feel like a million bucks. It’s that feeling you get when you take a curve a hair too fast in a sports car, and get dangerously close to spinning out of it – but you don’t. Your heart races, your blood is pumping so loud in your ears… and you feel alive. Okay, maybe I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

Mostly, though, I was in awe of the display of God’s might. Not that this was a “judgment”, or anything. Just the fact that God’s creation is so breathtakingly powerful, and knowing that God created it. If this storm is this powerful… and God made it… what must God be like?

I spent a good bit of the time curled up on the porch, head on my knees, tears in my eyes, and my heart in my throat. I wasn’t scared. I don’t think i was ever scared once, to be honest. It was too freaking cool. I was praising God, all by myself. Just me, and God, in the middle of this mighty storm – and I was singing. Brokenly, but I was singing. It was that awesome. It’s truly an experience I really don’t quite know how to share. God was just… there. He was with me. I’m not going to say I felt His “special hand of protection on me” – although it may well have been. I just know God was present, because His children can always feel it. I can’t explain it any other way.

I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even worried. I was awestruck by how unbelievably magnificent a thing that His power had wrought. I can’t really say I’d still say the same, had I sustained more damage. We had almost nothing damaged at all. All I know is – that hurricane, from the inside, was quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I couldn’t help but fall down and praise. I just couldn’t. I hadn’t told anyone this story yet – not really. Bethany heard it, sort of. I don’t know if I got it across very well to her at the time. It seemed a bit odd a thing to share, really. It’s what happened, though. In the wake of all the devastation, all the pain, and all the loss – I almost feel bad saying I think it was so neat. The actual storm WAS neat. What it did wasn’t so neat. The storm itself… I have never seen anything like it, and likely never will again.

I got to sit and watch the ENTIRE thing from a dry place, I was safe, and I praised God.

After the hurricane? Well, I can’t say I didn’t think a lot of that was cool, too. I saw the best and worst of people. Down here, I think it was way, way, way more of the best. So many people went out of their way to be friendly, courteous, and to help one another. The churches, and the Christians were absolutely magnificent in their response. The love you saw everywhere was palpable. Bethany’s family were all great to me, and I got to know them all so much better.

So much destruction, but so much love on display. Mississippi is one of the most heavily Christian states of the Union. You could tell, folks. “They will know you are Christians by your love” isn’t just a saying. I saw it. I lived it. It was absolutely awesome, folks.

In the months to follow, as tempers started wearing thin, utilities were still not all up yet, and the FEMA craze hit… it went downhill. Traffic began to get crazy, as the Coast’s population virtually doubled with relief workers and contractors. Lines, the destruction, and just general stress took it’s toll on everyone.

I’d like to make a general note about FEMA, and the outside monetary aid.

First: FEMA was never, and is never, going to save everyone. FEMA is totally, utterly, irrelevant. I don’t think that the people with signs out saying “where are you, FEMA?” really understood what they were doing. They just made me shake my head. Why do you think FEMA is going to save you from whatever position you’re in? I have friends, and family, who have lost everything. They didn’t count on FEMA to save them. They talked to their insurance companies, and started plans to rebuild almost immediately – whether they got their insurance money back, or not. Insurance companies don’t make money by paying you, either, incidentally. Almost without exception, the insurance companies have tried to screw over their policyholders. A few exceptions, but very few that I’ve talked to. I install garage doors. I talk to every single homeowner I put a door in for about their insurance, at some point. Trust me… I hear this a lot.

I just don’t get that “save me, faceless government bureaucrat!” concept. Or the people with signs on their fence: “Why do you keep passing me, Cable One! I want my cable NOW!”

I mean, really. If I were them… they’d be the last person in the county to get cable. Phone, power… same sort of thing. Like I said earlier. The best, and the worst.

As far as jobs go? There’s more jobs here than people. At my work, there is now only 1 regular employee that has been there longer than me. One. The two supervisors, and the office manager have all been there for a decade or so – and they don’t count 😀 But, there’s only *one* other employee that was here before the storm hit. One. The company employs about 15-20 people, and they have an atrocious turnover rate. Not because of anything they do. It’s because of how many jobs there are, right now. You know what the most common thing I’ve heard is? “It’s nothing special to have a job, right now. Everyone is so starving for people that I could get a job in 5 minutes of walking out of here.”

Sad thing is – they’re right. Unemployment should not exist, right now. Every place I know has a hiring sign out. Going through people like that is killer on the experienced help, though. You have to train someone else every week, just about.

I hate to sound too whiny. Work, if you’re in any sort of construction field, is absolutely, positively insanely busy. There aren’t enough people, there isn’t enough hours in the day, and everyone’s cranky. I’ll leave it at that, I guess.

We have Samaritan’s Purse Canada living at our church, and helping all over the Coast. I’ve been married since Katrina. Life, overall, is good. Busy, but good. That’s about all I see, looking back. Life, even with Katrina, is still good. It’s good because our God is so good to us.
You can take that to the bank. He provides all of our needs, and He shows us things in the most surprising of circumstances.

As I heard in church the other day, in a testimony from a woman who lost everything she owned – “the name of the Lord is still higher than the name of Katrina.”

Amen, sister. Amen.

Goin to the Chapel…

and we’re gonna get married!

The big date is Saturday, November 26th, at 9am CST!

So, I hope that explains the lack of posts recently, and the dearth of posts you’re going to experience for a bit longer, as we go on our honeymoon for the week following.

We’re just having a simple, garden wedding. We’re going to Gatlinburg, TN for the honeymoon.

Sorry, but I’m not going to even think about blogging – at all – for, oh, roughly a week 😀

Hate it for ‘ya!

So, have fun, read someone else in the meantime (what few readers I still have, after all of this craziness lately, post-Katrina, and pre-wedding!), and have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Just in case you didn’t know – the bride blogs here. She’s not blogging either, incidentally 😀

Seeya!

~ RK

Ah, Adversity!

I originally wrote this post on July 3rd, 2004, on my original blog. The area between the horizontal breaks was added today.


This week has been wild. First, Bethany’s car died. I spent until 9 pm fixing it, after I had worked a long day. The next day, Bethany’s power dims, and none of her plugs work. I have a computer I’m about to work on, and I have to tell this nice older man at church that I can’t fix it just yet… That same night, my truck dies… horribly. Blew a head gasket. Bethany’s had a psychotic week at work, she’s sick, I’m exhausted… So, I figure this is appropriate.


I used to HATE it when this didn’t go my way. It’d get me down, depressed, and oh, so pissed off.

Praise the Lord, I’m no longer bound to the emotional savagery that washes over you when it seems everything in life is conspiring to drown you, and crush you.

See, I live by a different paradigm, now. My goal is NOT to advance myself, and to make sure I’m #1 on everyone’s list. It’s to advance the cause of Christ! So, like my friends from Skillet,

 Quote:

I’m a beep, I’m a vapor
I’m just a blinking light
I’m a beep, I’m a vapor
And I’m about to evaporate

And the future’s robbing my soul
I’m face to face with my futility
And my life is slipping away
Inhaling my mortality

And I feel my skin’s just a shell
Underneath is my reality
I breathe dimensions unknown
It conquers my mortality

It’s a mad world will it ever stop?
Will the madness end?
While my body decays my soul does not
Death is just the beginning

And the future is robbing my soul
Inhaling my mortality

‘Vanity of vanities – all is vanity”, says the preacher – and I’m inclined to agree with him. Everything I’ve ever set my heart on, save God, has been systematically dismantled, bit by bit. I know why, too – I still claim ownership over my own life, in many respects, and count my worthiness in other’s esteem, much too often.

God’s solution, as usual, is to pare my life down to it’s essence – He asks me, like Peter:

 Quote:

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

– John 21:15-19

That’s all that matters, folks.

Not job, not significant other, not children, not hobbies, not skill, not esteem – just read this.

 Quote:

23 And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

Yeah, I’m some religious nut. You betcha, kids. I stand on the promises of God. I don’t need man’s affirmation, I need God’s. “Whom God loves, He chastens”, though, is also something that comes to mind for a Believer. God destroys you, in order to build you up. Doesn’t sound
like fun?

Oh, it isn’t. You Jesus was kidding, above, when He says “Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God”? Heck no. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, though.

Cause despite the “refining” I’m going through right now – like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – I’m FIREPROOF

Job 13:15 – “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

H4xx0r5 4re Dum8

So, while I was gone, my splash page gets hacked, right? I know how it happened, and I don’t really care. It’s a part of my site I rarely use, and it’s easy to fix – in fact, I usually monitor it regularly when I have my typical access to the internet. See, though, this guy was persistent. He did it 3-4 times running, after I had fixed it. This guy is getting on my nerves, actually.

He calls himself “Interex”, and runs a little website called “virtualaddiction.net“. See, what got me was that his site is full of 90’s spinning gifs, a chain lightning footer, and has 1337sp33k all over it. I’m still trying to stop laughing, and hit his photo gallery. (He had left his email address, proud of the fact that he’s a 1337 h4xx0r, evidently, which is how I found his website…) Well… he has pictures of him going to a drag strip, he (including his first name!) and his girlfriend (her first name…), his dog (and his dog’s name) … and he SAYS WHERE THE DRAGSTRIP IS LOCATED. Southern Illinois. I had idly gone through the “h4xx0r3d” files earlier, looking for ips – and an ISP entry came up.

Netwitz. Which services southern Illinois! How about that. The dragstrip was located in Benton, IL, which is located just northwest of Netwitz’s service area. Also, he has pictures of a Jefferson County sheriff’s car, which is also in that area. Wow, how ’bout that math.

So, suffice it to say, both his ISP, and his DNS masking service got an email from me today. He was nice enough to leave a log of his connections to his lil script kiddie program (the program’s actually pretty cool, but the way he used it is script-kiddie-ish). He used something else to get access, but I’m not telling what that is. I’ve already used too many h4ck3r comments in this post, and I don’t want to tell a script kiddie how to hack a site, y’know?

But anyway, it was also a useful tool, misused. So, I sent him a nice email, too.

Hi Rob.

How’s Kathryn?

Hopefully, Spike’s doing well, also.

Things going well in Illinois? How do you like Netwitz’s internet service? Do well by you?

FreeDNS does a good job re-routing you packets for you. I complimented them on an (almost) good job hiding you completely. Unfortunately, you left your home website address, containing your personal photo album.

Your site is a bit plain, incidentally. Might want to do less of the mid-90’s spinning gifs, lightning effect, etc. It’s 2005, man.

2005 means that whois lookups and reverse DNS are old school, man. I was doing it way back in ’98, when I opped for Cyberangels.

I would have had this mail back to you sooner, but I just went through a hurricane recently, and got my internet back today. Surprise, how are ya?

Took me all of two hours after church to collect the stuff to send to your ISP and FreeDNS.

*program name deleted* , huh? That’s an old-school program. Saw an IRC client in there too. Too bad you left your bnc.log connection info on the site. I may never have linked the Illinois dragstrip on your photo album with Netwitz’s southern Illinois service area otherwise. You so kindly left me a log of when you connected. bnc.log. Thanks.

Quit being a script kiddie. Yes, programs have holes in them. It’s part of the business.

Your “hack” was temporary, limited, and pretty amateur, dude.

1. Don’t leave an email I can look up your info with.
2. Don’t leave personal info on the site for your email.
3. Don’t use a DNS masker. It just annoys me and makes me look harder.
4. They don’t work anyway.

Do something more useful with your time.

~ RK

H4xx0rs are annoying. But at least I had some fun today. I used to love doing this stuff. Oh well. it’s fun occasionally, but it gets tiring after a while.

So, how’s your day, folks? Have a good Sunday morning worship service?

Katrina: Aftermath

Just to get this out of the way, before I go on to anything else:

What I feel about New Orleans, and the tarnish that elements of their population put on the entire southeastern United States, can be summed up by the comments of a member of my Church – my Sunday School teacher, actually.

“I’m actually glad Katrina hit us, too – otherwise, all of the gangbangers shooting at helicopters would be down here.”

I agree, most wholeheartedly. I would rather have the massive devastation Katrina wreaked on us, than the types of people I saw in New Orleans on the news, my one day out of the area.

It’s utterly, completely ridiculous. It’s insane. It’s also intolerable.

Second, I was completely apalled by the national media’s feeding frenzy on politics, while people were dealing with the aftermath of the largest national emergency this country has ever seen. It made me ill. It made me physically, utterly, ill.

CNN did it. ABC did it. Even Fox did it. Everything was sensationalized to score political points. Everything was reported in the worst possible light. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was painted in the light in which it actually appeared. It was painted as if to make completely sure that everyone knew that people were, indeed, depraved, and that nothing whatsoever was being done to help.

You know what? The national media has now completely, absolutely lost any vestige of respect I will ever have for their so-called “objectivity”. They are a pack of hyenas, looking for ratings, and for the most tear-jerking, heart-rending stories, so that they can keep viewers.

Screw you all.

Ahem. The local media, however – Kicker 108, the local country station, has done an absolutely MAGNIFICENT job in keeping people informed, connecting loved ones, getting the news out, and in telling us EXACTLY what we need to know. NPR has done a decent job, but they have the same problem that the national media has – they sensationalize.

The local radio stations have been absolutely awesome in the midst of disaster, and they are a real godsend.

Thank you.

Thank you to the National Guard, who has performed with excellence, with aplomb, and with a smile. Thank you to Mississippi power, who has been absolutely brilliant in restoring power to so much of the community. Thank you, especially, to the scores, hundreds, and thousands of outside power, utility, and tree workers who have done a fabulous job assisting. My hat is off to you all.

Bell South – AWESOME job in getting phone service back so fast. The cell companies have been awesome, too. Cable One, I’ve seen you all over. Great job. Red Cross, Salvation Army, local churches… the list goes on. They’ve all been fantastic. The local FEMA representatives have been great at keeping us informed, and the management of the disaster relief down here has been nothing short of spectacular.

It’s been truly awe-inspiring, watching something so devastated come back to life under the careful, skillful hands of a massive influx of technicians, managers, volunteers, and just plain hard workers.

It’s been a real blessing to watch, and a real blessing to be blessed.

The national media… they’re a pack of vultures.

Haley Barbour, the local mayors, their staffs… they’ve all been working around the clock to put us all back on our feet. President Bush’s compliments were certainly apt, when they were offered to Haley Barbour. He has really done an excellent job.

I’ve seen 98% smiles, here in Southern Mississippi – 2% frowns, 2% bad moods, 2% bad tempers, and 2% despair. 98% of the time, someone has a friendly wave, a cheerful greeting, and a smile to send you on your way.

THAT is what is REALLY happening here. Anyone else who tells you differently is out of their ever-loving mind. I’m here. I’m down on the coast as much as I can get down there, and where I am JUST got power back TODAY. So don’t even think about telling me I’m not in the middle of it. I have been. The media is scavenging horror stories – which, in most cases, are probably true. The other 98% of us – the people who can smile, laugh, wave, and still keep our temper…

We still love each other, and we prove it every day. Several people in our church lost EVERYTHING. They are loved, are being loved, and will be loved – and will be loved right back on their feet. I watched a friend break down while we talked to him, about losing his house – after his cry, he had nothing but a smile and a hug for us. He’ll be ok. We’ll make sure he is. That’s how Mississippi is doing.

We aren’t shooting at rescue copters, I’ll tell you that. We offer them whatever we have to give them – and it’s usually turned down with a smile, and a friendly wave. They’re being taken care of too.

That’s how WE do things down here.

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