Archive for November, 2005
Tomorrow, a noteworthy marker passes. On 12/1/95 I began my professional career as an IT person. It will have been a decade (at ISU even) since I started ‘earning a salary’.
Some interesting tidbits about december of ’95
– The Matrix was still 3 years away.
– I hadn’t met Melissa yet.
– The computers being purchased that fall were Pentium 100Mhz computers and a good deal of Pentium 66Mhz machines existed (all of which had around 16MB of RAM (IIRC).
– I was 23
– Y2k wasn’t even on the lips of the general populace, but was a growing problem among IT Professionals
– IIRC, the ‘link out’ from ISU was a single T1
– Williams hall room 1B consisted of a room full of 8088 IBM PCs
– The ‘Servers’ were a pair of 486s (I forget the specs).
– U2′s current CD that they had out was Zooropa (Pop was coming in 1997, IIRC). Passengers was released around that time, but technically doesn’t count as an official release.
– Windows 3.1 was the official operating system of the College and NT 4.0 was still a year out from being relelased.
– There were only two FTEs that worked in the IT area for the COB (me and another person).
– I still lived @ 722 Dale….
More tomorrow about what’s happened since.
Quick reminder. talk.bearla.com is part family blog/part tech blog/part Chrstian tech (is there such a thing?) blog/part chronicle of us being in God’s will, etc…
If you’re here looking for pictures of Aidan, click the link above that says ‘pictures’ and go from there. The direct link is http://www.bearla.com/gallery.
Whatever, you’re here for, enjoy!
Perhaps the biggest blight on Christianity that exists.
I’m in the camp that believes that there is a specific reason for many of these denominations to exist (different ways of reading niche doctrines of Christianity), but strip these away and the gospel is fairly simple; it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out how to become a Christian (if you add or subtract from it, you’re just being silly).
While we sat in church this weekend (refer to the previous post), a crack was made about another denomination during the middle of the talk that left me a bit sore. What’s worse was the person about 5 rows in front of me that actually clapped as a result of the comment, turned around to look at me and get validation that the behavior that he exhibited was valid.
I fail to understand why jokes are made about another denomination that preaches the same gospel. Differences occur in style, but I believe that we as Americans are so near sided sometimes that we fail to see that Jesus loves, visits and moves in churches that don’t look exactly like ours.
I went to a secular University and extremely appreciative of having friends that go to a wide swath of evangelical denominations and who all believe in the same God and rely on the same grace that one day standing before God we’re confident that our account will be settled. We may disagree on tounges, predestination, method of Baptism, style of worship, and a thousand other perhipheral issues but we still find fellowship. Strangely enough, within these churches in our town, there are many friendships that exist that I’m aware of in the Pastoral staff. Sometimes I wish we could get our act together as a body of believers in this country and actually do some effective work and not be so near sided to our own petty differences. Comments like the one that was made on Sunday morning should not be laughed at and definately should not even be uttered within a group of people that claim the same grace.
one edit: I think we are all guilty of this at some level. After I posted this, I remembered a song that I heard recently with the chorus ‘Just give me a new law’ and goes on to say ‘Don’t teach me about politics/just tell me who to vote for’. There is a tendenancy in people that are heavy on the whole liberty speel to demeen Christians who go to conservative churches and lean on rules. My opinion: there is a place for everyone and that Jesus longs to meet us where we are at with out own specific imperfections and desires to change us to be more like him. There are places for those kinds of churches, but just like many things with humans, people should and will change and accomodations should be made for that. Saying someone’s wrong when they believe the same Jesus as you is just silly…
So, we were traveling this weekend and stopped by my folks place for the Friday-Sunday stretch of the long Thanksgiving weekend. MJ and I figured we would stop by a favorite church that we have been visiting lately for Sunday morning and worship. This particular church (names witheld to make a point) has been experiencing some building growth lately and we figured we’d stop by to see how they were doing. After the church service, we noticed a few problems that, in my opinion, are beginning to cripple churches of substancial size.
First, the talk was done with a powerpoint presentation. I teach powerpoint and I am not critical of it as a package and the purposes of what it does but as a medium, it doesn’t express complex ideas well. Edward Tufte, a professor and a regular critic of powerpoint, makes a valid point that powerpoint slows down the comprehension of an audience and effectively ‘dumbs down’ a complex idea. Nowhere was this more evident than the talk on Sunday morning. It was an attempt to dive into the Bible for the talk, but the powerpoint effectively slowed the presentation enough that it was hard to determine where exactly the speaker was going with the subject.
I also tell my class that another problem with powerpoint is that it is part of a whole picture; choices you make regarding backgrounds, sounds, size of text, transitions and the like all convey a single message and all parts have to be chosen carefully and well. The topic of the talk was ‘Simply Christmas’ and the speaker made a point early on that the church was trying to get down to the ‘basics’ of Christmas by removing all the trappings of decoration, of materialism that often comes with Christmas and to make things very simple. Surprisingly, his background for his powerpoint talk was well designed and looked like a decent amount of time had been spent on it. When you choose backgrounds for slides, they convey your message to your audience as well, even a subconsious level. Choose wisely.
I believe that we need to be very careful as a society in our use of powerpoint. In an effort to make things visually stimulating we often will lose the message. Complex ideas should not be conveyed via powerpoint – they just shouldn’t. If you know me, I’m the last person that would ever diss someone for overusing technology to make a presentation, but lights, slides and cool transitions are no replacement for an engaging speaker and thick material. Some of the best sermons and talks that I have ever heard come from people that I could never imagine using powerpoint (e.g. speakers like N.T. Wright, Jeremy Bigbie (sp…it’s been a while), John Stott, and even secular people like Barack Obama’s talk at the DNC.
I’d love to see someone do a spoof of powerpoint, similar to the ones done of the Gettysburg address, of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount to illustrate this point. Lending to my question…What Would Jesus Powerpoint?