the forty-second parallel

Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

By Means of Comical Witticism

Mr. Einstein, writing to the highly esteemed Mrs. Curie:

P.S. I have determined the statistical law of motion of the diatomic molecule in Planck’s radiation field by means of a comical witticism, naturally under the constraint that the structure’s motion follows the laws of standard mechanics. My hope that this law is valid in reality is very small, though.

Posted on April 18th, 2015 | Life in General

Book Log

I have the hardest time remembering what I’ve read and when I’ve read it. I’ve started several books over the past few months, but here are the ones I’ve enjoyed enough to finish:

Posted on February 28th, 2015 | Books, Life in General

A Pointable Me?

Craig Mod

It’s not about content being free or not, it’s about content existing or not. Can I point? No? Then it’s kinda not really there.

From the third of a three part series exploring what content publishing means in an age of publishing platforms (ie. iOS apps). I think it applies equally to content “published” on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

To a certain extent you can point to content on these platforms, but how long does that content exist? All those baby pictures that once had permanence in photo albums and shoeboxes, now only exist as long as it is useful for companies to sell your personal information to advertisers. I’ve long wondered to what capabilities someone like Facebook has for mining photos beyond the obvious EXIF data.

What happens when providing access to those photos costs Facebook more than you’re worth to advertisers? Think that doesn’t matter or isn’t likely to happen? A lot of people probably thought the same thing about Delicious.

Granted, a large portion of what we are creating and sharing today won’t ever be worth looking back at. But even so, I don’t think that means giving away our identities to whomever makes it most convenient.

And therein lies the rub – sharing baby pictures on Facebook is very convenient, not to mention a heck of a lot easier than setting up your own photo sharing system with restricted user access, commenting, sharing, etc.

(A quick aside: If there was an equivalent free, turnkey, self-hosted system, it would preclude such technical knowledge that 99.99% of people could never use it. And those that possessed the requisite knowledge would have to give up the easy Facebook integration that thousands of apps and websites provide.)

We as technologists, with an unreal access to computing power, have mostly failed to build systems and products that enable people to do what they want as simply as possible – and the companies that are doing the best job at that are making a killing in the marketplace.

Is a self-determined online identity even possible for the average person without the likes of Facebook and other third-party services? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth thinking about.

Posted on April 29th, 2012 | Culture, Life in General

Meetings: The practical alternative to work.

Tempted to post this on my office door:

Meetings: The practical alternative to work.

(via 37signals)

Posted on December 9th, 2009 | Life in General, Work

There’s No Step Three

Jared Wilson:

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (and your neighbor as yourself).

Do what you want.

In that order.

You could (and people have and will) fill libraries of books full of footnotes, addendum, clarifications, helpful hints and the like. I know it’s tempting.

But please don’t.

Posted on September 2nd, 2009 | Jesus, Life in General

Live into this

Eugene Peterson:

The biblical way is not to present us with a moral code and tell us “Live up to this,” nor is it to set out a system of doctrine and say, “Think like this and you will live well.” The biblical way is to tell a story that takes place on solid ground, is peopled with men and women that we recognize as being much like us, and then to invite us, “Live in to this. This is what it looks like to be human. This is what is involved in entering and maturing as human beings.” We do violence to biblical revelation when we “use” it for what we can get out of it or what we think will provide color and spice to our otherwise bland lives. That results in a kind of “boutique spirituality” – God as decoration, God as enhancement.

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, p. 140

Posted on April 9th, 2009 | Life in General, The Gospel

Those Odd Moments

Little girls have a way of greatly impacting the amount of extra time one has for extracurricular activities like blogging. But at the same time, they also have a way of casting certain aspects of life into very sharp focus – even at three months of age. In any case, this is something that I’ve been thinking about and meaning to write about for quite a while now …

I don’t know why we can read the same words in the Bible over and over and then one day things just click and all makes perfect sense. A simple turn of phrase that previously seemed content to fade into the crowd can suddenly burst into a room, gushing with the beauty of the love of God and demanding nothing short of stunned silence on our part. I presume it to be part of the more mystical [1] side of following Christ – the Holy Spirit picks and chooses times to reveal things to us for reasons that may of may not ever become clear [2].

I had one of those odd little moments several weeks ago while listening to Alistair Begg via the Resurgence. In his sermon, Begg mentioned 2 Corinthians 5:21 which reads:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

When I heard him read that, the second half of the verse stopped me in my tracks. I’ve read 2 Corinthians multiple times but can’t ever recall paying particular attention to that verse. But the implications and meaning of the first half of the verse didn’t hit me until last week while listening to Mark Driscoll.

Read the first half of that verse – particularly “he made him to be sin” – I don’t think that statement is any sort of literary slight of hand. It’s meant to be taken quite literally. Christ became sin.

Are you a liar? Christ became a liar. Are you an alcoholic? Christ became an alcoholic. Are you a pervert? Christ became a pervert. Think about that – if that statement doesn’t make you squirm, then you don’t fully understand the gravity of what Christ did on the cross. To glibly say “Christ took away our sin” makes it sound easy and clean and just another day on the job for Jesus. But to say that Christ became our sin – our lies, our deceit, our perversions – is to recognize the weight and guilt that fell on him. He didn’t co-sign a loan for us – he became guilty of every sin that we have committed.

That’s the weight of the cross. And taken on it’s own, that simple statement is quite overwhelming. The enormity of it demands from us a response. But before we can respond, we inevitably ask “Why?”. Christ became our sin on the cross; he died; he rose again. But why in the world would Jesus do that? What was the point?

The simple answer is to say “so that our sins might be forgiven” – which is correct. But, again, oversimplifies the enormity of the situation. And this is where the second half of the verse comes in and we discover the glory of the cross.

It says: “… so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Christ didn’t go to the cross so that we could say we’re sorry and get off the hook and become buds. Through him, we actually become righteous. He doesn’t make us just good enough to get into heaven. We literally become the righteousness of God.

Pay attention to the end of that statement. Not righteous – but righteousness itself. And not just righteousness, but the righteousness of God. We assume Christ’s righteousness, just as Christ assumed our sin.

Mindblowing, isn’t it?

[1]: I mean “mystical” in a most literal sense – things having an importance that is not immediately apparent or obvious; that are beyond ordinary understanding. See Phillipians 4:7

[2]: And I don’t think it’s a new thing. There are several times recorded in the gospels that Jesus told the disciples something that to us (with a death/burial/resurrection + 2,000 years) seems mindblowingly obvious. But, as the gospel writers tell us, the weight and meaning of Jesus’ words was withheld from them.

Posted on November 2nd, 2006 | Jesus, Life in General, The Gospel