Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A family friend with and interesting home

Check out Duane's lifestyle:

Computer Upgrades, almost complete

It's been time to upgrade the operating systems and some hardware on our computers, household and work.

I maintain the kids' school computer, Mary's kitchen computer, Louisa's Mac, a webserver/file server, my desktop computer, a very rarely used old Micron XKe laptop, and a computer I set up for the parish secretary.

The kids' school computer: 

Well, this wasn't really an upgrade, really just a house cleaning. It's a Dell Dimension 2400 running XP-Pro. There was so much garbage on it from when we bought it 6 years ago that it needed a disk wipe and re-install. Over the years the keyboard and mouse have been replaced a few times. The original DVD drive stopped working properly for DVDs, so I replaced that a few years ago. Probably it was used as a drink holder too many times.

This one computer takes more effort to maintain than all of our other computers. Why? Microsoft Windows. Back up: all afternoon: Install a program, reboot. Change a setting, reboot. Subscribe to MS Update, download, reboot, reboot, reboot. Set up the hardware, reboot, reboot, reboot: 3 days.

The computer I let the secretary use:

This computer is backed up to the file server.

Back up files: 1 hour.
From Suse 10.0 to Linux Mint 8. 20 minutes.
Copy files: 1 hour.
Install new hard drive: 30 minutes.

The Web/file server:

This computer serves the parish web pages and acts as a back up file server for the rest of the computers. The web pages and databases are backed up to my office computer and remotely to Mary's kitchen computer.

Back up files: 30 minutes.
From Suse 10.2 to Linux Mint 8: 20 min.
XAMPP install 15 minutes.
Copy files: 15 minutes

My office computer:

Backed up to the file server.

Back up files: 2 hours
From Suse 10.2 to Linux Mint 8: 20 min.
Copy files: 2 hrs.

Mary's kitchen computer:

Backed up to the file server.

I upgraded from Suse 10.1 to Suse 11.0 a while ago. Suse is going on 11.3 now. I didn't have to back up at that time. It took about 45 minutes for the upgrade.

But now I think I'll switch it to Linux Mint 8. It's a bit slower computer, so it will probably take 1/2 an hour. Her files are already backed up to the file server.

Monday, February 22, 2010

To Save A Life

A member asked me to look into the movie "To Save a Life" for some kind of evaluation on whether or not it could be useful to churches, families, and youth in our area.

I haven't seen the movie and can't see it until it comes to our area. So I will proceed cautiously based on the movie's website, the production company/church website, kids-in-mind.com and various reviews in the mainstream media available through rottentomatoes.com.

The Story and Purpose of the Movie:

From the movie website:

Jake Taylor has it all: friends, fame, a basketball scholarship and the hottest girl in school. What could be better?
Enter Roger Dawson. Roger has nothing. No friends. No hope. Nothing but putdowns and getting pushed aside. Things couldn't get worse...could they?
Jake and Roger were best friends when they were kids. But the politics of high school quickly pulled them apart. Now Roger doesn't fit in Jake's—or anyone's circle—and he's had enough. He walks onto campus with a gun in his pocket and pain in his heart and makes a tragic move.
Jake's last-ditch effort can't stop Roger, and the sudden tragedy rocks Jake's world. Something breaks loose inside and sends him questioning everything. Most of all, he can't shake the question Could I have saved Roger? In a quest for answers, Jake finds himself looking for the next Roger and reaching out to the outcasts and lonely. But he quickly finds that crossing class castes threatens all his world is built on. And it could cost him his own friends, his girl, his dreams and even his reputation. Is it worth the price to find the answer to his ultimate question: What do I want my life to be about?
This movie was written by a Youth Pastor Jim Britts and Executive Pastor Steve Foster at New Song Community Church of Oceanside, CA.

Their intent is: "to inspire young people to reach out to the hurting and lonely around them, the "To Save A Life" Film, Novel and Curriculum Study Kit are intended for use by Small Groups and teachers."

What to consider before seeing the movie:

Kids-in-mind rates the content 6.5.4. Parents should read this review to help them decide whether they want their children exposed to the material content presented in the film. That said, the fact of graphic content is only one part of such a decision. Another major part of considering content is the way in which the content is used either to encourage or discourage behaviors, and whether or not--in the end--the immoral and destructive behavior is glamorized.

For example, Black Hawk Down, Das Boot, Saving Private Ryan, Hotel Rawanda and Der Untergang all were very explicit in their portrayal of violence and gore. But though they were explicit and extremely disturbing, the graphic nature of the action served to show the depth of suffering, dedication, and sacrifice (in the cases of BHD, and SPR); and the horror and repulsive consequences of Statism, tyranny, and genocide. Whether it is necessary to use graphic action is a different question which each family needs to consider for themselves.

When considering violence and gore available over the regular television networks and cable networks this movie seems mild.

The portrayal of sexual themes listed in the kids-in-mind review sound about as suggestive as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, The Old Series, though the sexual language in the movie may be more comparable to contemporary "family" television. So the question is how do they use these situations to portray the benefits of and to encourage chastity. While the movie might be quite tame compared to other movies typically watched by teens (compare the many explicit sexual references in "Transformers") it is still a lame argument to suggest that viewing suggestively clothed teenagers in sexually compromising situation could improve their chastity. But I have not seen the movie, so I can only rely on what kids-in-mind have reported.

Possible Religious Themes and Problems

New Song Community Church is oriented around a Church Growth marketing appeal to its surrounding community. Their preaching and outreach are summarized as:

A Great Front Door (comprised of a) gifted artists sponsoring God-moments and experiences during each service, b) anointed teachers delivering relevant, life-changing messages, and c) an army of hosts welcoming newcomers into our church like they would welcome guests into their own home.) And...
A Great Serving Core (teams of people serving together in life-changing and people-
changing ministries both inside and outside of the church while doing life together in such a way that they know and are known, love and are loved, serve and are served, celebrate and are celebrated by each other.)
Their statement of belief shows them to be basically a Baptist Trinitarian church that denies the Means of Grace, viewing them as ordinaces established by Christ for believers to show their dedication and sincerity to God: for example, their "believer's baptism". In other words, the Means of Grace are stripped of Christ's grace and made into works done by people to demonstrate their own faith. From their statement on the Church:

We believe the Church is made up of all those who have trusted Christ as their Savior and Lord. We believe that Scripture commands believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of believers baptism and communion as the ordinances established by Jesus Christ, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world.
This leads me to expect that the movie will confuse the Law and the Gospel. The ways I expect this to happen are the following:

  1. I expect that Conversion will be viewed as a decision made by the individual of his own free will. When in truth there is no free will. We are spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins and need God to make us alive (Eph. 2). Christ chooses us, we do not choose Him (John 15:16). We cannot give ourselves the birth of faith in any way (John 1:12-14, John 3). From the meaning of the Third Article in Luther's Small Catechism "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him.
  2. I expect that Contrition will be placed along side faith as a cause of salvation. That is, I think the movie will make the claim that a person has to feel really sorry in order to come to Christ. When, in fact, it is not our sorrow or its depth that moves God to love us, rather it is the suffering of Christ and His righteous life that is credited to us through faith alone that saves us. And that faith is given as a gift by God through Baptism.
  3. I expect that individuals will be directed to their own inward struggle and prayers to find a way they can give their hearts or dedicate themselves to God. This error is similar to the first two, and the false direction given is always to the condition of the sinner rather than on the explicit external Word of God.
  4. I expect that Baptism will be used as an outward act by the converted to show their dedication and sincerity to God and those around him. But in reality Christ gave Baptism as a Means of Grace through which He washes a sinner clean of sin, creates the faith that trusts in Him, and dresses the individual in His righteousness.
  5. I also expect that devotion and sincerity of faith will be viewed as marks of true faith rather than faith being God's work, as we confess "but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel and enlightened me with His gifts." The gifts mentioned in the Meaning of the Third Article in Luther's Small Catechism are those specific things Christ has given to His Church on earth for the creation and sustaining of faith, the Word and Sacraments.
There are other errors that I expect the theology of this movie to make, but this list should be a good beginning for examining the doctrine presented in the movie.

Looking through the movie's website and the supporting website that provides many "studies" which are available for purchase from the sponsoring group, I feel a bit cynical. The studies and advertisements and hoopla look to make a pretty penny for the sponsoring group should the movie prove popular among nominally Christian groups. I realize the movie and resources represent a sizable investment on the part of the sponsors. But it seems to me that there is a very big emphasis on buying product for the sake of souls. I do not approve of this kind of "Christian Guilt Marketing."

Also, reading through the sample materials and the websites, the "Christian Guilt Marketing" seems to be accompanied by the John Edward's approach used in his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." The point of that sermon was to present hell as so terrible a place that the listener would be too frightened to want to go there and give his life to Christ. The materials seem to suggest that people going through the emotional trials faced by the characters in the move will be motivated by the horror of the consequences the characters face. But such motivation does not bring about faith. It brings about either despair or self-righteousness. Much will depend on how the Gospel is presented in the film, but it looks like the Gospel will be confused with Law by making the Gospel into a preaching of repentance.

Some Nice Things About the Published Reviews

This film does get the right kinds of reviews from anti-Christian critics the main stream media.

Andy Webster of the New York Times said:

The director, Brian Baugh, was the cinematographer for the conservative screed “An American Carol,” a clumsy parody of Michael Moore movies, and here similar politics come in adolescent camouflage. The film would be a mere nuisance if not for its shameless exploitation of school shootings to advance its agenda.

But forget the lame performances and arch, preachy sentiment; the movie’s sham hip-hop and spurious alternative music alone should keep teenagers away. Thank goodness.
Melissa Anderson of the Villiage Voice said:

What would teenage Jesus do if he felt responsible for a childhood pal's suicide, knocked up his girlfriend, and played too much beer pong? ...
To Save a Life wants to rescue kids from the Satanic messages of Gossip Girl—a benign, even worthy enough objective, but must alternatives to empty, materialistic adolescence require baptism in the Pacific? The film's handling of teenage pregnancy follows Juno's, with Kimya Dawson lyrics supplanted by a repugnant linguistic twist regarding "choice." For all its initial attempts to soften its religiosity—the SoCal setting, the youth pastor who's profoundly sympathetic to his charges, the wispy-banged messiah who's gifted at using social-networking sites—To Save a Life is about as subtle as this closing credit: "The producers would like to thank: GOD." 

The Austin Chronicle says:

You, too, can prevent teenage suicides, if you reach out as a good Christian … or something like that. To Save a Life is a well-meaning but ineptly made message movie
Madison Capital Times writes:

What’s worthy about “To Save A Life” comes purely from its nutritional value, and if a teenager becomes a more empathetic person as a result of seeing it, then it’s worth it for him. A lot of his friends, though, might be too bored to get to the redemption part.
Andrew Barker of Variety magazine writes:

Just as representations of human sexuality on film are often unpleasantly twisted by the grotesqueries of the porn industry, so, too, are filmic representations of religious conversion homogenized by the faith-based entertainment industry. Case in point: Debutante director Brian Baugh's "To Save a Life," which hints at becoming a thoughtful portrait of a teen's spiritual crisis, then abandons all narrative integrity to hit its church-mandated marks, which range from well-meaning to eyebrow-raising.
Lou Lumenick of the New York Post writes:

"The producers would like to thank: GOD" say the closing credits of the Christian drama "To Save a Life" -- and I had pretty much the same sentiment when it finally ground to a conclusion after two full, mind-numbing hours. ...
Produced with the best of intentions by a California church and directed without distinction by first-timer Brian Baugh, "To Save a Life" would be bland and boring even as a half-hour after-school special.
These kinds of reviews from these agnostic and anti-Christian critics almost convince me to go see the movie.

Based on the information gleaned and presented above I couldn't recommend either going to the movie or staying away from it. I'll probably have to go see it because of the impact it will have on the youth in our area. I just pray that the film doesn't backfire by 1) leading teens to think that sexuality outside of marriage is only bad because of pregnancy instead of being a sin before God, and 2) by leading the suicidal to despair even more with what appears to be a faulty "scared straight" lesson rather than the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ.

I don't doubt that the theological approach of the film will cause confusion of Law and Gospel in minds of most viewers. The agnostic and anti-Christian reviewers already demonstrate this, along with the film's defenders in the comments to those reviews. In this way, the film may provide an opportunity to talk explicitly about the value of the Means of Grace and properly dividing the Law and the Gospel.

But after all this is written, I just have a basic objection to the whole notion of "relevant" messages, of which the film is an example. When Christians start looking for "relevance" it means that they have decided that God's Word is not enough. The danger that the movie may present to the Christian with all its potential confusion of Scripture's Law and Gospel is in communicating a passing fervor of action toward the lonely based upon the passing emotionalism conveyed in the movie rather than a solidly scriptural desire to confront sin as sin and present the grace of God in Christ through the Means He has given.

Again, I have not yet seen this movie. These are some thoughts based on the information available. I hope that they are helpful.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Four Old Photos

Laura S. (now D.)

1990 French Creek Trip, Larua S. (now D.) standing by a VW we found at Rushmore.

Emily's recital in 1989?

Climbing rock in the Black Hills
Climbing rock on the French Creek trip in 1990. I'm up toward the top, the little fleck of baby blue, next to John G in white. I think it was John. Wasn't it you, John? Maybe it was Laura. Mary thinks it was Laura. Maybe it was Beth, she had a red kerchief on her head during that trip. But the person in the photo also looks like Kristi. Was it you? Kristi? Click on the photo to go to larger versions--if you really want to. Wow, we were pretty high up. No safety lines. I seem to remember someone commenting about that at the time. Mary gets nervous looking at the photo. We started at the bottom, along that chimney in front.

Charles in 1989?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday's Fieldtrip to the TRF Hydroelectric Dam

Just some of the photos. The rest are at Flickr. I'll put the video I took up on Youtube when I get a chance.


Gary P. first showed us the old diesel generator. This same model of generator was used to charge batteries for submarines during WWII.


Here's a side shot of the generator. It still works. And TRF uses it when they need to. But only when it is needed. It's expensive to run.


Inge loves field trips.


This small diesel generator puts out the same power as the big one above, uses less diesel. But it is still expensive. Gary fired this one up for us. It makes a lot of noise.


TRF's third diesel generator. Each of the generators has the same basic parts and does the same basic thing. Alternating Current comes from the large coils. Direct Current is generated by a smaller coil off to the right by Gary's feet.


The dam has two water turbines. This one and the one behind it.


Gary explains the way the water falls through the fins on the turbine below the generator coils, the axel connected to the coils and how they regulate water flow.


Here Gary is showing us how the governor works to keep the turbine at the proper speed for 60 cycles per second.


We're outside looking at the substation that takes transmission of electricity from North Dakota, converts the ultra high voltage into something usable for the city. The electricity generated by the dam is put through this substation to lower the amount TRF has to buy from ND. Should the lines from ND fail the dam and the diesel generators are the city's supply. And if I remember correctly what he said, the dam and generators could only supply about a quarter of the city's need.


Outside looking at the area where the water falls into the fins of the turbine.

Internet Help

I know, I haven't posted in a while. And I have several things to post. But it's Lent. That means busy. I'll get to what I can when I can.

Meanwhile, here's a good article on improving some aspects of internet use.

15 Internet Annoyances, and How to Fix Them - PCWorld
15 Internet Annoyances, and How to Fix Them
The Internet's a wonderful thing, but it can also be a royal pain. Fortunately, there's help.

Jared Newman, PCWorld

Thursday, February 11, 2010

τεκνα θεου και ο λογος ως μονογενους παρα πατρος

οσοι δε ελαβον αυτον εδωκεν αυτοις εξουσιαν τεκνα θεου γενεσθαι τοις πιστευουσιν εις το ονομα αυτου οι ουκ εξ αιματων ουδε εκ θεληματος σαρκος ουδε εκ θεληματος ανδρος αλλ εκ θεου εγεννηθησαν και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο και εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν και εθεασαμεθα την δοξαν αυτου δοξαν ως μονογενους παρα πατρος πληρης χαριτος και αληθειας

 θεον ουδεις εωρακεν πωποτε ο μονογενης υιος ο ων εις τον κολπον του πατρος εκεινος εξηγησατο

 απεκριθη ο ιησους αμην αμην λεγω σοι εαν μη τις γεννηθη εξ υδατος και πνευματος ου δυναται εισελθειν εις την βασιλειαν του θεου

 ουτως γαρ ηγαπησεν ο θεος τον κοσμον ωστε τον υιον αυτου τον μονογενη εδωκεν ινα πας ο πιστευων εις αυτον μη αποληται αλλ εχη ζωην αιωνιον ου γαρ απεστειλεν ο θεος τον υιον αυτου εις τον κοσμον ινα κρινη τον κοσμον αλλ ινα σωθη ο κοσμος δι αυτου

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Matt Played in Pep Band

So, Friday we went to Oklee for JV and Varsity Girls BB.


Clara and John up with Chantelle on the stage.


Mickayla's 1000th point!


Little brothers to the players who are totally uninterested in what their sisters are doing on the gym floor.

A full crowd for the game.

Matthew hunkered over the bass guitar.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Making Hotsauce

packing ristras into the jar
First get the dried peppers off of your ristras.
I used two strings of chilies and one string of jalapeno.

stripping the ristra
They slide off pretty easy, usually.

the chilis before adding water
The jar should be 2/3 to 3/4 full. This is a 1/2 gallon jar. But I've done this in pint jars.

dried chilis with garlic
For this volume I'm using a whole garlic bulb.

adding the garlic
The garlic is cleaned, cut, some parts crushed.

Hot water poured on
Boiling water is poured over the whole mix. Enough non-iodized salt is added so that the water is pretty salty. I use a plastic lid and a bamboo stick to keep the peppers under the water.

When the water is about body temperature I add about a 1/4 cup whey.

Now it just needs to sit and rot for a few days. Then I'll put it in the blender to puree.

Pedophiles Required

Years ago anyone who suggested anything like the following would be arrested and put in jail for a long time. But now, the U.N. is taking seriously that adults teach children to have sex and be comfortable having sex.

International Planned Parenthood Pushes "Sexual Rights," Abortion for Children

by Samantha Singson
January 29, 2010
 In its new report "Stand and Deliver," the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is demanding that governments, religious institutions and society at large provide "comprehensive sexuality education" for children as young as ten years old.
In a foreword, Bert Koenders of the Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, which helped fund the publication, asserts that, "Young people have the right to be fully informed about sexuality and to have access to contraceptives and other services. These rights are enshrined in various internationally agreed human rights convention and treaties, but – unfortunately – they are still not universally respected."
According to IPPF, as "young people are sexual beings," it should be self-evident that "sexuality education promotes individual well-being and the advancement of broader societal and public health goals." IPPF argues that "comprehensive sexuality education" must be mandatory in school, and governments must also ensure that this education is delivered to those young people who are out of school.
IPPF claims that "With young people as partners, today's adult decision-makers have the chance to recast sex and sexuality as a positive force for change and development, as a source of pleasure, an embodiment of human rights and an expression of self."

Click the title to read the rest of the website's article.

I do not doubt that the IPPF was emboldened toward this pedophilic extreme by the president's appointment of Kevin Jennings to the position of Secretary of Education.

I'm not going to post links to articles where Jennings discloses his opinion on these topics because any family friendly web filter, or common school and library internet filters would then block my blog from being read.

So, here is what you do if you are at a computer behind and internet filter: ask the librarian for access to news articles about Kevin Jennings. Tell the librarian that some of the news articles will be blocked because Jennings discusses sex education. Let the librarian know you want to see what the news articles and Jennings say about his political opinions on these topics.

And pray for our country and our leaders.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Read Madeline's Blog Entry

She titled it "What Grace Just Said."

Facebook Humor

Two more photos

No, I dint go out bayfoot

Did you go out on the porch yesterday without shoes?

Elsie's Cat
Did you use my camera yesterday?

An Evening in Our Home

Just some photos of a typical evening. No TV. This is during our "Read Aloud" time. The book is Peter Holt: PK.

Family Scenes
Sisters are for carrying around.

Family Scenes
Sisters are for sitting upon.

Family Scenes
Sisters are for brushing hair.

Family Scenes
Mothers are for reading.

Family Scenes
Sisters are for tossing around.

Family Scenes
Sisters are for being tickling.  Brothers are for tickling.

Family Scenes
Sisters are for hugging. Brothers pretend to be mighty.

Family Scenes
Moms are for sitting upon.

Family Scenes
And really little sisters are for eating puzzle pieces.

And Mary adds, Fathers are for taking photos.

Elsie's Birthday Photos

Elsie's Birthday

Elsie's Birthday

Elsie's Birthday

Elsie's Birthday

Elsie'd Birthday

Elsie'd Birthday

Elsie's Birthday Ow!

Busy Week Last Week

I didn't write about much that was going on in the parish or family last week, just the note on Cinderella Rockafella and the note on H2O2.

Aside from the normal writing, I got ready for Kevin's funeral.

Saturday morning we held worship at Mt. Olive.

The funeral was Saturday afternoon. I think there were probably 1,000 or more people in attendance. The whole gymnasium floor was full of people on chairs, and the bleachers were full. People were standing in the back. Please keep Kevin's mom, Shirley; and his wife, Kim; their children; and Kevin's family in your prayers.

Louisa came to the funeral with some classmates. We got home at 6:30pm.

Then we had Elsie's Birthday Party. (Photos next post)

Sunday we had our three services at St. Petri, Oak Park, and Nazareth. I spent a couple hours on a visit in the afternoon.

Monday I took most of the day off, I went with Elsie to TRF where she got her ears pierced as my birthday present to her.

Tuesday I did office work and cleaning, then we went to Caucuses in TRF in the evening. Matthew came with to observe and learn. Deer Park Township had the highest rate of attendance at the Caucus.

After we got home I did a bit more office work.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide with dish soap and baking soda is great for removing skunk smell. We went through a bit of the mix last summer.

I'm de-skunking the handle of the knife I used back then. My peroxide was out in the garage, frozen.

Hydrogen Peroxide at the pharmacy is in a 1% or 3% solution with water.

Hydrogen Peroxide thaws at 31 degrees F.

I didn't know this second part. There were some droplets on the top of the bottle when I set it on the counter. My hands began to tingle and get all blotchy and white.

After soaking my hands in warm water and baking soda for about 10 minutes they are mostly back to normal. Just a couple of small white spots, and a tight feeling on some fingers.

Be careful with Hydrogen peroxide.