Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

OOPS!

After trying to make some adjustments to my blog template, I managed to completely fry it. So, we're back to a 'cookie cutter' blog until I can try to re-write my old format. Sorry folks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

 

CYBER AREOPAGUS PART II

Some perspective...

Sometimes we forget just how weird we really are. We Westminster-type fellows have a whole different lingo, and the way we think is something utterly bizarre before the masses. You can't talk amongst the world as if they were brethren. I found it necessary to focus on the distinction between special grace and common grace.

Basically, I had to learn how to think like a pagan.

Paul demonstrated this same thing. He knew how the pagans of his time thought; and so he went to the Areopagus and presented the gospel in their environment and using their dialect. On the modern Areopagus, an understanding of both how pagans think and how they interact is essential if the message is to have a broad audience. The former is of course a matter of pagan doctrines and faiths, which will be discussed in later posts. How they behave on forums is a study in and of itself, which we’ll focus on for this missive.

Now the Gospel, by its nature, will cause strife, stress and angst amongst the unbelieving. It then becomes important to see how people behave online when under such stress. This type of net behaviour is called, 'Flaming'. There are two distinct types of flaming: Personal and Contextual. Let's take a closer look at these.


1. PERSONAL FLAMING

This type of flaming is characterized by personal attacks directed towards the individual poster. These can vary from 'you are stupid' to lengthy, descriptive posts containing massive amounts of creative Ad Hominem. Personal flaming does reference the comments of the person being attacked, but they are secondary to the focus of the flaming. Personal flaming is highly aggressive, filled with invective, hostility and curses. The vast majority of Personal Flaming is tell-assertive vice ask-assertive. Classic examples of this type of flaming can be found in abundance at Brawl-Hall. Note that in this form, silencing the 'enemy' is often used as a sign of victory, as well as a majority decision made by the regular board members on behalf of the flamer.

2. CONTEXTUAL FLAMING

These flame attacks do not attempt to insult the poster directly, but rather seek to intimidate through attacking the poster's arguments. Although Personal Flaming may play a small part in these kinds of attacks, when it is present it is usually ask-assertive in nature. Contextual Flaming stands on logic rather than invective and yet victory in such flame wars is decided in much the same fashion as Personal Flaming. Good examples of Contextual flaming can be found at Flame Warriors. Also note that on most non-Christian religious boards, Contextual Flaming is far more common than Personal Flaming.


A Christian apologist will need to be familiar with both kinds of flaming styles, although the Personal method is not one that should be employed in ministry. Contextual Flaming will become an integral part of any cyber-apologetic, as the 'table of ideas' is the enemy rather than the persons at the table.

It is important to note that many persons are not aware of the two types of flaming. Most persons that I've encountered were only aware of the Personal Flaming style. Therefore, it is imperative that the apologist resists the 'temptation' to react in kind when facing Personal Flaming. Contextual Flaming is quite Biblical, as it is the method that not only Paul used, but also Elijah on Mt. Carmel. Consider the following:

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." Proverbs 26:4-5

Personal Flaming is, in simple terms; unrighteous judgment of the kind that King David refused to engage. To say to someone, for example, "You are an ass hole", is a direct violation of the 6th commandment. To respond to this Personal Flame with another Personal Flame is to be like the fool, and make the fool feel wise. However, when such Personal Flames are responded to with Contextual Flames, the actions of a person rather than the individual are rebuked; which keeps fools from believing themselves wise.

Do not forget that the Gospel is an offense to the wicked, and the wicked will seek to offend the giver of the Good News because of this. Thus, the apologist at the Cyber Areopagus must remember to not attempt to defend him or herself from such things, but rather wear the armor the Lord has given us so that we may stand in the face of fools. Do not forget that the enemies of God do not know peace, but the godly warrior will be at peace with his enemies.

Monday, May 23, 2005

 

CYBER AREOPAGUS PART I

There's just nothing to compare with the Apostle Paul's apologetic methods as demonstrated in Acts 17. Faced with a slew of pagan philosophers, he resisted the temptation to tell them of their fate, but rather met them where they were, and showed them from their own beliefs the truth of the Gospel. The unknown god was known, and indeed this teaching of Paul entered into the philosophical realm of the day under the teachings of someone who is commonly refered to as pseudo-Dionysius. Of course, some of them said, 'Hmmm... let's talk some more', while others scoffed. But Paul was not there to convert anyone, but rather was there to display the truth so that those whom the Lord had called would come.

With this in mind, let's consider something- the modern Areopagus that is on line.

The number of forums and blogs that are specificaly anti-Christian is monsterous. Just google the word, "Pagan" and see what happens. Likewise, the number of Christians who seek these sites for evangelism is also huge. I have seen three distinct classes of Christians on such blogs and forums:

1. The Brimstone. These Christians are typically very conservative if not fundamental. They come to these sites, and with honesty and conviction inform the pagans that they are doomed to hell, and that their only hope is the Gospel of Christ. These Christians are usually banned from such sites after only a few visits.

2. The Bowl. These Christians do not admit that they know Christ when they visit these forums. Having seen the ferocity of the attacks that The Brimstone cause, they attempt to provide a Christian perspective without ever declaring themselves to be Christian primarily through the use of analogies.

3. The Drifter. These Christians openly declare themselves as Christ's own on these forums, but use the forum as a sort of 'spiritual fellowship'. Most of these type do not have a regular body where they worship, and lacking consistant Christian fellowship, use these pagan sites to express the love and 'spirituality' of Christianity. In some aspects, they mimic the pagans on the site to aquire their acceptance.

There are not a lot of Reformed Christians on such sites, and so the pagans for the most part only interact regularly with the types of Christians above. Now bear in mind that the above Christians are exactly that. Christians. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and many of them are simply in need of sound biblical leadership and love. Also, the Gospel of Christ never returns void. I personally know of Christians who have come to genuine faith in the Lord through the ministries of the above brethren.

But what would the ministry of a Reformed, Pre-suppositional apologist look like? What would happen if you dropped a Westminster confessing dude into a place like that? Well, that is what this series is about- the ministry of a Reformed Christian on the Cyber Areopagus. Stay tuned.

Theognome

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

 

ZOO KEEPER

Yes, Zoo Keeper. That's my new job description.

I now have the distinct pleasure of managing a small slew of apartment buildings around about the city. The task is not an easy one, especially since I've never done anything like it before. Scattered about this metropolis, these apartments are filled with a broad swath of humanity; from college kids to retired folks to the kind of people that wind up as guests on Jerry Springer. It's a zoo.

This is quite a challenge for me. Managing the residences for hundreds of families of pagans can be extremely exasperating. It's been 18-20 hour days six and unfortunately, sometimes seven days a week. Were it not for Toni's absolute infinite purdiestnessabilities I'd have gone totally insane. I've had a tenant call me on the emergency number so that I could put a band-aid on his wart. I've have prostitutes turning tricks in one of the parking lots. I've flushed out vagrants, pulled dentures out of drains and listened to the wildest stories as to why someone just isn't willing to pay their rent. -REAL EXCUSE- "I cain't no pay no rent dis month 'cause I gotsa go to Vegas an win me some mo money".

So, I am a zoo keeper. Joy.

Monday, February 14, 2005

 

INFINITE PURDIESTNESS GIRL DAY

Yes, today was Infinite Purdiestnness Girl day. On this special day, I like to make sure that my infinite purdiestness girl knows that she is the purdiestness and that she is correct to demand many kisses and hugs and wuvs. What I like best about Infinite Purdiestnesss Girl day is that I can celebrate it tomorrow, too. And the next day. Every day is Infinite Purdiestness Girl day. This makes me very happy.

Theognome

Sunday, February 13, 2005

 

AN EXPATRIATES VIEW

Let me welcome myself to Missouri. When I crossed the border, there was a sign that read, 'Welcome to Missouri'. Note that when I left California, there was a sign that read, 'You'll be back!'.

A side bar- Since I still have California plates on my car, I should get myself a bumper sticker that reads, 'My governor can beat up your governor!'.

In addition to the afore mentioned, I'd like to list some other subtle differences I've noticed between the two planets:

One of my earliest experiences almost caused me to adhere to Premillenial Dispensationalism. White fluffy stuff began to fall from the sky. It didn't taste like manna, and it was icy cold. The sky was gone, having been replaced with a somewhat light grayish palate that dumped this stuff everywhere. Snow, they called it. It looked like a rapture of some kind to me.

Rivers. In Southron California, a river is a straight concrete ditch full of weeds and trash. Here, water seems to just sit in the naked earth, meandering where ever it will. It's so... so... Un-natural.

Back in the People's Republic, a building built out of red bricks would have a sign over it that reads, 'Condemned!'. The building codes are quite strict about this. You can only build with re-enforced brick, since red brick won't survive an earthquake. I come out here, and almost every single building is made out of stuff that will fall down at a moment's notice, including my own residence. I'm not used to the idea of immobilized earth. Or the idea of tornadoes, for that matter. Did I spell that right, Dan?

Traffic doesn't exist here. Oh, the locals will beg to differ, but they have not likely driven in and around LA. I'd guesstimate there's about 1/20'th the cars on the road. And, since there are not as many cars to dodge, you really don't need to know how do drive to get around. I have never seen such a display of driving idiocy as I have getting around this place. Drivers like that in LA become drive-by road rage victims. Sometimes they do so here as well.

No one ever in the state of California struck up a conversation with me by asking if I was also a sportsman and what kind of guns I owned. No one here has struck up a conversation by asking if I also surf and what kind of boards I have.

This whole winter thing. This whole weather thing. I only know two seasons: Summer, and hot summer. Drought. Lizards doing pushups on rocks. Desert. That's my climate. Why talk about the weather? It never changes, anyway. Not in Kansas City, buckaroos. I have heard more than a few times from total strangers that if I don't like the weather, just wait fifteen minutes- it will change. Forecasters duke it out with grandma's rheumatism in media bloodbaths. People on the street talk about the weather as if it is dynamic and unpredictable. Chaos reigns. I went to the local Home Depot and explained the situation. There exists in California an exterior thermostat. You see, an interior thermostat controls the climate inside your house, so obviously, an exterior thermostat could make it not so blasted cold. I was informed that although they did carry them in stock, the gas bill from getting the city up to my standards was more than I could afford in ten lifetimes. Sigh... I must put up with cold and universal madness.

Of course, the folks around and about me can see at a glance that I'm totally un native. Shivering in 30 degrees while dressed like the Michelin Man. Add this to a 'deer in headlights' glaze at all the change and I'm an easy mark.

Theognome
 

A NEW MACHINE

it was mentioned in a comment below that $400.00 at circuit city would solve my computer problems. Nay, it took more than that. For my newest endeavor, a lap top with some appreciable proccessing power was needed. some $1200+ later, I now posess a device that can not only do stuff that I never thought of, but more importantly can actually do the task that I need a computer to do: run my favorite games.

Seriously though, my last computer was a two-bit special, and I did get what I paid for. It did basic stuff, but was woefully underpowered.

The new one is a Compaq 2ghz p4 machine with 512 ram, dvd/cd burner and all the various other bells and whistles. yay.

Theognome

Friday, January 28, 2005

 

WHAT IS THIS STUFF!?!

...After unmentionable trials and tribulations, we are now kinda settled into Kansas City, Missouri.

We just got phone service into our new home today. DSL is coming, and with it more internet activity... We're (myself and Toni, the purdiest girl in the universe) both on dial-up, which is slower than monkey snot in winter, but the DSL has been ordered, and should be in place but early next week.

My task is basically to establish a property management company. This should not be too difficult- I have built and/or owned other companies, as well as have done consulting for some big players in the management industry. Oh, it will not be easy, but I believe that aslong as the Lord lives, Which is in and of itself an axium, everything will come together, or not come togeather, in whatever manner He see's fit. Oh, I'll work my tail off, but the comfort in His providence overwhelms me with peace. No matter what problems come my way; and believe me, they already have, the Lord will see me and my family through. It may not be the way I want, but He will care for us none the less. This makes the transition easy- I really just need to do the task(s) at hand. Whatever comes of them will be exactly what the Lord had planned from the beginning of time. So, what have I got to be worried about? He's in charge, not me.

Moving is such fun!

Theognome


Post Script- After some four months now, I read this and think, My, what an arrogant cuss. This is very difficult indeed.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

 

ON THE MOVE

Wow. The list of things going on is amazing. I'll try to keep the story as concise as possible.

I have left Transworld, sold my house, accepted a position in Kansas City MO, and I'm in a hotel in Amarillo Texas with my wife watching King of the Hill while everything we own is in a huge truck in the parking lot. Mouthful, eh?

It's a big huge change, and your prayers are of course appreciated. All of this change began a few months ago, and has cumulated in this. I'm changing careers through this one, going into propery management and other such things.

Through assistance of some our church friends, we miraculously got our truck loaded in less than three hours. This includes all of mama's quilting stuff, which could fill a two bedroom apartment alone. Afterwords, we drove to Flagstaff AZ, and today went from there to Amarillo. It was dark when we entered Texas, but I'm hopeful that tomorrow I may see a dead armadillo, or if I'm really lucky, the opportunity to run one over myself. You see, Armadillo's look just like speed bumps, and I don't slow down for those, either. With good providence, we'll get to Kansas City tomorrow evening.

Give us a few days to get settled in, and I'll give some more gory details. Perhaps, Infinite Purdiestness will put something over on ESD.

We'll chat later.

Theognome

Thursday, September 09, 2004

 

YOU ANIMAL YOU!

Heh. After some five months of not looking, I finally checked out The truth Laid Bear, only to find that Theognome's Thoughts is a large mammal. Who'da thunk it?

Theognome

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

 

BEING LAZY

Gee, I dunno if I should update my woefully out of date links, or just tell folks to use Carmon's links over at Buried treasure. I dunno, whaddya y'all think?

Theognome

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