Saturday, July 29, 2006

Permanent Net License Essay

Using sources obtained with your temporary Net license provide a coherent narrative of the History of Man. This essay will join the Net Compendium of Knowledge.
From Earth to the Stars
By Alexander R. Flint
"The History of man is the history of struggle."
Mankind was born on the planet Haeretz tens of thousands of years ago. As soon as man knew what property was he fought for it, and when weapons and willpower were great enough there came the three wars for Anglo-American Hegemony. The alliance created in these conflicts became the seeds of what would become the Colonists. After subduing Europe, Eurasia, and the Near East these proto-Colonist governments turned their attention to the Far East, and to the stars.
In the midst of the fourth war for hegemony the Alliance woke up a new enemy. This enemy was unlike the humans they had previously faced, who "struggled earnestly, grappled well, and admitted defeat." This new enemy from the stars, the Aliens, was a cunning and manipulative race.
They came down to Haeretz and offered "miracles that were manacles and cures that were curses." Many readily accepted this alien technology, but at a price, the capitulating governments had to agree to the Alien’s terms, the halt of all space exploration. The first government to agree to the Alien’s terms was China, fresh off its defeat in India.
The Chinese government became a puppet to the Aliens, and the 4th War for Anglo-American Hegemony became "a proxy war between man and menace." Then ensued a great twilight struggle to see if humans could be "masters of their own house," or if they would be dominated from afar. Tragically after the EMPing of the West Coast of America President Tracy was forced from power and replaced by the traitor Henry Stevenson, who sued for peace.
In a last desperate act of defiance President Tracy called on those closest to him who had not yet succumbed to the Alien threat to come together and form the Colonists. He dedicated the organization "to the principle that man’s destiny is in the stars." The Colonists confiscated space transports throughout Haeretz. A new era in the history of man was ushered in on the day of the Great Launch. 8 million men women, and children were transported to three dozen planets deep in space beyond the clutches of the Aliens.
For the next three hundred years the Colonists spread from planet to planet planting colonies wherever they went. Many a story of these brave pioneers and their struggles and triumphs could be told. There are so many tales in fact that they could fill the whole Net time and time again. Since my aim here is to give a general and panoramic view of our history, I will simply say courageous things were done that will never be forgotten and always will be lauded. In the year 300 GL there was found a planet populated by non-Colonist people, controlled by the Aliens, who had manipulated the belief systems of those people to a point where they understood the Aliens to be deities. In the year 301 GL President Abraham Robertson re-dedicated the Colonists to a grand new mission, the liberation of Man from all Alien influence.
I remember my grandfather telling me of the day he heard of the incineration of Ur-Kaldez, the Alien’s home planet, in that memorable year 598GL. I can still remember what I was doing when the liberation of Haeretz began to take place in 662GL. Our war of liberation has become an act of cleaning out the remaining pockets of resistance through psychological operations, wearing down the remaining Alien forces, and winning the hearts and minds of those who remain under the boot of the Aliens. Many see the wiping out of the Aliens within our lifetime! As President Robertson’s call is being fulfilled before our eyes Colonial society can now look forward to a third age of man. An age filled with the pursuit of recollecting the classical learning of Haeretz, the compilation of narrative histories of man in the NCK, and the integration of non-Colonist humans into Colonial society.

(Any clue how to put footnotes on Blogger as that makes this much more fun)

Friday, July 28, 2006

What do EMP's have to do with Jesus?

So, the Christian Worldview Network, generally a pro-republican, anti-emergent, UFO contemplating newsletter provider, has now decided issues of national defense are part of a Christian Worldview.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Baby Boomers sell soul

Coming or going?

The paradox resting itself as both a crown of diamonds and of thorns upon my mind is a question of place. It could be called topical maybe? Geographical, certainly.
I’m coming home. At least to a form of home. I’m leaving home. At least a form of home.
What bags that I packed will be waiting for me when I return? What bags will have mysteriously been packed by others and left behind?
They will say welcome back when I still am saying goodbye. I will say its good to be back when they say goodbye.
And this is not a one-time proposition. Movement is part of who we are. Stasis is not possible. Abraham was told to get up and go; Moses wandered for 40 years; Ruth went and joined Naomi; Jesus left, face toward Jerusalem; Luther hid from the Pope’s thugs; Kierkegaard made a leap of faith.
That’s just it. We go from one place to another. We change and are changers. We move again. That changes things too.
We return sometimes. God’s people end up back in Egypt more often than anyone expected; they also returned from Babylon; Luther returned to the deep well of scripture; Jesus is promised to return.
Returning everything is the same, but fuzzy and different. A friend has a paunch. A cinema has more screens. And some are gone. They too have moved.
And once you wrap your head about this, it is all very exciting. I’m both coming and going!

Touched by a year

Vik and I have been doing a lot of thinking as the end of our year looms. We’ve came to a few conclusions about our time here.
We’ve changed- This is apparent by our appearances alone. When we three volunteers came our hair was all long and flowing (we all three of us looked like rejected hippies). We will all leave St. Mark’s with hair cropped quite short. Beyond the apparent changes we’ve also been living in a very specific place, doing jobs that come with their own jargon. We’ve also been living together in tight quarters for the last year; our personalities are beginning to rub off on one another. And that doesn’t even get into the fact that poor Vik has been thinking and speaking in English for the last year.
The people we are going back to have changed too- My best friend has a fiancĂ©; my dog is dead; I’m going to a friend from way back in Elementary school’s wedding. To top that off as Vik recently pointed out while I’m acting like a 50 year old my parents, who are now living in Alaska, are acting like 20 somethings.
We feel loyal to England- When we toast the Queen it’s more or less a joke, and we aren’t going to start singing impromptu choruses of "Rule Britannia" as he sees me off to the airport. That said we really feel close to Britain. For example, if we met someone from the UK in our homelands who was lost we would move heaven and earth to see them to where they were going.
Very few people will ever understand the things we have done here, and that’s okay- I think I may have gotten the first part of that statement from that WWI book I read for Novel Approach (not to mention the Gettysburg Address), but none the less it’s true. It would take a whole year to describe to someone what this year was like, and even after said description the poor power of words would show through and they still wouldn’t understand what we’ve done. I remember a specific episode of Malcolm in the Middle where Malcolm is visiting colleges. He meets this one girl who did an exchange year in Barcelona (she keeps pointing out it’s properly pronounced "Barthalona"), and she can’t shut up about it, every sentence she says starts with, "I remember when I was in Barthalona…" We realize we don’t want to be like that so we’ve decided to look at our time at St. Mark’s sort of like it was Narnia. That is, we’ve been through the Wardrobe and we realize anything we tell anyone about our time there will not really be understood. Therefore it is best for us just to be glad we’ve been to Narnia and treasure it in our heart until we return there for our next adventure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The sermon from the RYPpers worship

Romans 8. This is a strange bit of the bible to preach from about the Trinity; and suffering is a strange place to start such a sermon. Then again we proclaim a strange faith.
A faith- that professes that the Father, good, holy, the arbiter and foundation of all that is Good and Holy, created the world. Created Eden, created perfection, yet things are all messed up. There is murder in the garden; there is starvation in the garden. The garden is sick with pollutants and man is polluted with the sickness of sin.
A faith- in the Son, a man murdered by a powerful empire that has long since become dusty tomes in a dusty library.
A faith- that, in this loud and extraordinarily busy and self important world, where indifference trumps action, materialism trumps morals, and where it seems more important to watch Friends than make them, in this world where we attempt to drowned out the voice of God, we claim that the Holy Spirit is as close to us as our jugular vein.
A faith- that knows one God, and yet knows God as Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit.
A strange faith.
Yet a faith worth suffering for. A faith- with many martyrs. A faith- the first of those martyrs, St. Stephan was stoned for. A faith- the Apostle Paul was whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and eventually died, for.
While they are very important it is not just those noble sufferings of the saints of old that we should consider when reading this letter of the Apostle Paul. No, we ought also think of the perennial problems of life, the problems that make all of creation fall to futility.
All of humanity, each and every last one of us, is a card within a house of cards. We were all stacked carefully and precariously atop one another. Even the slightest breath, a slight jarring of the table, would cause the whole house to fall down. And that deck of cards has fallen down a long time ago, and we are constantly attaining toward a return to our original placement. Every personal sin is a card falling, knocking down the whole deck. This deck is in a constant flurry of motion, Jacks falling atop crazy eights, and twos upon Kings. Every time a wall of a house is reconstructed two more fall down. The interactions of these cards grow in intensity until they become a splashing, bubbling sea of black, red, and white.
But we can’t stop there, for we should consider the present sufferings/ be they physical pain, emotional ache, or spiritual distress. And we must realize suffering has meaning. It turns us back to what once was. It is the echos of Eden that makes us ache. It is a yearning for God.
More than that a calling from the Father. A calling to live as Children of God. To live into the goodness of creation as it was made by God.
So the Father has "subjected us to hope." So the Father has left us with a distinct feeling that things can, should, be better. That’s good news isn’t it? (ask again)
And still there is more gospel, more good news. God’s son, Jesus, entered into creation. He was born into this suffering as you and I were. He lived for some 30 years teaching about the Kingdom of God and the Love of God. He suffered on a Roman cross, and died there. Yet the "bondage of decay" would not hold him.
In this way the Son’s Life, Death, and Resurrection, bring us closer still to the new creation we yearn for. We have hope for "the redemption of our bodies." That is, death no longer controls our bodies because we have the hope of Resurrection and New Life. That’s good news isn’t it? (ask again)
And there is more gospel, more good news. After Jesus left his apostles they were gifted with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave them the ability to proclaim the saving message of Jesus to the ends of the earth, and were led by the spirit to do many things, including welcome non-Jews as equal followers of Jesus.
And we Christians today are heirs to those first followers of Jesus. And we still are animated by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit still helps us in our weakness, that we may be and become Children of God, and live in the new creation that we now "groan inwardly for."
God is still with us, the "Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words." That’s good news isn’t it? (ask again)
The good news today, more than any abstract, or even concrete, statement about the nature of God, any statement about the Trinity, is this.
"I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depths, nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ our Lord."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hobnobbing with the High and mighty

The last few days things in my life have been very highbrow. On Friday I went to Cambridge and hung out with a bunch of cool-hyper-intelligent theology professors at Charlotte Hempel about 4QMMT Miqsat Maaseh Ha-Torah, a Dead Sea scroll, as well as meeting John Piper.
Then yesterday the St. Mark’s crew was invited to Lord Braybrook’s. The tea was a fundraiser for St. Mark’s so we went there to shmooze (which I found out yesterday from Vik, in German refers to foreplay, not socializing, so I use the word in it’s American context!) with all the posh people there. So now I can say I’ve had tea with an English Lord and Lady!
I have to admit rubbing elbows with the "high and mighty" was kind of fun, and it makes me remember more clearly that we as Christians are called to minister to the low and weak ones; to the Ungoogleable ones, so to speak!