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Blog reading for newbies

If you are interested in keeping up with the blog for the next 26 days, I would suggest using RSS. RSS is a way for people to publish articles from their website. It is a good way to keep up with a lot of different websites that so that you don't have to go to the site to just check for new items. An RSS reader checks for you and keeps up with whether or not you have read the article and provides a consistent interface for reading articles.

Wikipedia's entry on RSS is a good place to start learning about RSS, or you can just Google RSS. You can download readers for free and keep up with all manner of news from my fairly irrelevant ramblings to world news from CNN. There are also web RSS readers like Google Reader or BlogLines.

While your looking at Web 2.0 technology, take a look at del.icio.us (my bookmarks are at http://del.icio.us/midnighthour and Technorati.

Time for bed.

Progress is a Vector

For the non-mathematicians out there, a vector has magnitude and direction. A scalar has only a magnitude. This sounds like some sort of quote. I have never heard it, so I guess I will take credit for it. If you are trying to get somewhere, and you just run fast, you may actually be delaying your arrival. Why? Because you may not be going in the right direction.

Sometimes, at least at my job, progress is mistakenly interpreted as a scalar. This means that it as long as you are running fast, things are OK. The problem is that later you find out that all you have been doing by going fast is putting more distance between you and your destination. Now, don't think that we are complete fools at PDI, we do seek to set out in the right direction. In fact, we look at the map, compass, stars, and everything thing a good explorer uses to set our course. The only problem is that sometimes, we leave our instruments at the dock. We don't really check them until we run aground somewhere and borrow the instruments that are available.

This is why Extreme Programming's concept of steering is so important. You check your course against the correct course (the customer's needs) and adjust along the way. The more often you do this, more efficiently you get to your destination because all your work is heading in the right direction.

Sometimes it is better to go slowly and more precisely in the right direction. Otherwise you can spend more time recovering from your speed in the wrong direction.

Redeemer Community Church

I just thought I would point anyone looking for a good church in the East St.Louis area to Redeemer Community Church.

My good friend Rusty Mosley is the pastor there, and I am sure that the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be both preached and lived.

They are starting services on Feb. 27th, and I am excitedly waiting to see what God will do in the comming months.

Is this normal?

I just got finished watching my two older son's (4 and 2.75) repeatedly taking turns slugging each other in the back and saying, "Ouch." Boys really are different than girls.

This makes me think of a conversation I heard recently. I heard Soren crying. Then I heard Gage say that he was sorry. Soren said that he did not forgive him. Gage said, "You have to." There was about a two-second pause. Then Gage said, "Do you want to play shoot-down (a game where you just try to knock each other down)?" Soren says, "Sure." Then they happily start to run around and knock each other down.

I am sure there are great things about having girls, but I sure enjoy the quick recovery of the hearts of boys.

Updated: Shortly after I wrote this I came across this blog entry from the JollyBlogger.

Pax's Birth Photos

More photos of Pax and family mere hours after his birth are available on our flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bheathr/

Pax - Mixed Reviews From Brothers

Perhaps the title is melodramatic, but this is the blogosphere.  Gage and Soren both love Pax, but Soren is just a tiny bit ambivalent.  I don't know if the little vingette I am about to share is due more to Soren's and Gage's personalities or their different relationship to the new one.

Two nights ago, Courtney put Pax in the bed with Gage.  Gage loved it.  When Courtney started to take him, Gage protested.  When she said he might fall, Gage said, "I'll put pillows up to block him.  I'll lay on the other side."
Tonight I put Pax with Soren.  He also loved it.  However, when I started to get up.  He said, "Take Pax, Daddy."
All in all, I think Soren is dealing with Pax well considering he enjoyed his place as the baby.  I am hoping he can also enjoy being a big brother with Gage.

Was Athanasius a Good Guy?

A friend of Courtney's asked a very good question about our son's middle name. Having read the Wikipedia article I liked to, she asked, "Was Athanasius really a good guy?" This was my resons:

The Wikipedia article is largely from a 20th century perspective. It doesn't really judge as sympathetically as I would. But then again, I think it is really important that he played a major role in shaping Christian doctrine during his life time. Judged in his context, I think he would come out more admirable.

Maybe I should have picked a different source to link to. It is just a generally recognized reference, and gives a brief overview of his life. I probably should have given this disclaimer for all of the articles. I pretty much read everything with a healthy dose of skepticism. This is especilly true of secular judgments of church history. Modern historians for the most part have a progressive view of history that everything gets better and better. While WWII changed some of that, there is still a strong influence. Many evangelicals (conservative Christians) think things are just getting worse and worse. I see things going up and down with no particular pattern with respect to time.

For a better view of how I view Athanasius, you could read the introduction to his On Incarnation by C.S. Lewis.

Pax Athanasius Robinson




Three Sleepers

Originally uploaded by bheathr.

Pax was born at 12:45pm on Friday Jan 27. He weight 8.0 oz, and measured 19in in length.

He and Courtney are both doing well. Courtney is an amazing baby deliverng machine. She looks as good as ever only a day after. As you can see, Pax, also quite a looker, if I do say so myself, has quite a head of dark hair. More pictures are coming, but I need to get them from Courtney's dad. I borrowed the professional camera to record the moment.

In case you are wondering, Pax means peace in Latin and Athanasius is the third in our series of church father names. For more info see the wikipedia entries:
Gage Augustin
Soren Basil
Pax Athanasius

For the most part these were all great men. Like all of us, they have their stains, but they were used by God to shape what all Christians believe even today.

Thanks for all your prayers. Praise be to God! Human life is an amazing thing!

DefCon America - Evangelism

I thought it would be funny to share this survey that I recently got from DefCon America. It is suprising how much they sound like fundamentalists.

I think they might be as evangelistic as a church planter. I saved off a copy to share.

Reading Old Books

I heard a quote recently about C.S. Lewis saying that every third book we read should be from a different century. He says that this will help us see our cultural blind spots.

Many people read books from the same group of authors if not the same author. Some only read mainstream evangelicals, others only charismatic writers, still others only reformed writers. Reading old books would help us break out of our own tradition enough to see beyond the set of problems usually addressed by the books we read and might help us to see issues that authors of our own culture fail to see because they all have very similar lives.

Sometimes we avoid old book because we think they will be difficult or irrelevant. However, classics, Lewis says, are classics because they are so accessible and I would add relevant. Surviving the test of time is proof that they are readable and relevant.

I haven't picked my "old book" yet, but I am planning to. I have a few seminary that I could reread. I am sure it would do me good. It's not like I really remember all of what is in them. Plus, I am a different person now: I am sure I would different ideas would stick out to me.