Sunday, October 19, 2003

Pleasant Sunday 

This has been a very nice day. We spent a few hours and meal with good friends of ours-- Ralph and Debbie and their family. Lots of laughs and good food. Even got to play some euchre.

This evening David Beam stopped by. I greatly respect he and his wife. We had the blessing of being in the same lifegroup with them (same group we got to know Ralph and Debbie above). While he came by on other business, he took some time to talk with us about planting a home church (we'd mentioned where we thought the Lord was leading us to his wife a few weeks ago). He was very encouraging and spoke from his own experience including a church he and his wife started in Mexico and their present ministry in the county jail.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Protect our rights, Love our King, etc-- All this for the Low, Low price of clicking Forward! 

I'm talking about a particular strain of SPAM like e-mail... the religious urban legend. Now that we're in the age of the internet these rumors appear to spread faster than ever. Actually, I'm frustrated by all of the hoaxes that are forwarded-- from medical cures, to tragic stories to viruses-- many of these can be shown to be hoaxes with a quick google search or by visiting sites like www.truthorfiction.com. That said, religious hoaxes, in particular, bother me the because they are embarassing for the Christian community as a whole. (I guess the same could be said for any hoax a Christian forwards?). Yes the scripture tells us that we will be thought of as fools, but I don't think God was thinking of self-inflicted foolishness! Let's let our foolishness be the foolishness of the cross.

Anyway, I'm thinking about this today because I've received another round of e-mail hoax petitions that I need to sign to protect religious freedom in the U.S.A.... never mind that this rumor has been floating around for about 27 years. What's odd to me is that extremely intelligent, wise, mature christians that I respect forward this kind of stuff to me. In fact, I have personally guided a number of these folks to websites where they can check out the validity of a claim and even given them suggestions on how to tell if a message might be a hoax using simple guidelines. These same people still keep forwarding rumors that are proven false and are doing nothing to enhance the credibility or integrity of Christians. So why... well, I wonder if there is a fear that what if this particular "urgent" message is real and I do nothing that would be tragic.

How can I help? I'm toying with the idea of creating a service that people can check a message for it's hoax likelihood by either copying it into a page on a website or even simply forwarding the e-mail to the service. I was thinking of leveraging the kind of work that projects like SpamAssassin and Razor have done for SPAM and using it to help automatically determine how likely a particular message is to be a hoax or not. Lori said I wouldn't have to get that fancy and just write a key word filter similar to the ones that she has written for a client with a fairly high traffic (for the area) web site that didn't want cussing/approximations of cussing posted to the website. Her stuff does work pretty well and would not be as complicated to design and implement. Ofcourse the geek coolness factor wouldn't be as high, but am I going for something that will be helpful or something to impress geeks like myself?

Sunday, October 05, 2003

planting, other stuff, and ice cream 

It's a been a while since I posted and quite a bit has happened. The family and I drove to San Diego Thursday (25 Sep) so I could attend the ToorCon security conference. Since we were in the neighborhood, the Evan's graciously allowed us to be part of the unconference church planters conversation by joining everyone for dinner and conversation Friday evening. Wow, we were very touched... everyone present that evening gathered round our family and prayed over us and prayed especially for Joshua. Very humbling. We would have loved to taken part all weekend long, but I really did need to attend Toorcon (which by the way was very cool. A lot of neat work going on...)

But back to the present-- this has been a good day. Lori encouraged me to plant something in the ground a few days ago. Actually she suggested I start with planting something in one of the half whiskey barrels that she has been using for landscaping. This was a challenge for me since I don't really enjoy gardening. I guess it was good for me to start learning to enjoy the gardening "process"... Lori suggested my usual attitude is to work really hard at gardening stuff really fast and get to the end result quickly (or something like that). I think she's right. This time it was much more enjoyable-- I took two separate trips over two days to pick out a few items to plant-- flowers and onions. Then I worked on the soil this morning and planted them late morning. Joshua, Judah, Annika and Zach all came out to help at some point. It was a lot of fun and in the end the flowers looked pretty nice, too.

We spent some time focusing on the Lord, his Word and praise. Then we went to the annual Life Chain in Las Cruces where we quietly hold signs along the road that indicate our concern over the deaths of children through abortion, the pain caused to women, and the forgives Jesus brings.

Finally, I just got back from taking the older four children out for ice cream cones at a Tastee Freeze just a few miles down the highway. Lori stayed home with Phoebe (who is a tad to young for ice cream). The purpose was two fold-- first the Mazda hasn't been driven in several weeks and needed to be exercised and second, I wanted to treat the kids to ice cream! Of course, I had to get a cone myself... :-)

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