01 November 2006

Projecting Opposites

Anxiety = Excitement

Pressure = Desire

Fear = Aggression

Depression = Anger

Sad = Mad

If person/thing informs me
then I am not projecting.

If person/thing affects me
then I am projecting .

When projecting gets you down, give yourself a break by allowing the opposite feeling to crop up and bring you back into balance.

Adapted from Ken Wilber's Shadow Series.

07 July 2006

Have Joy in This Day




Anna Blake-Godbout

Have Joy in This Day

Have Joy in this Day
for we are son and daughter,
sister and brother,
mother, and grandmother, father and grandfather.
Most of all, we are a Gift …
of Courage, of Life, of Love
entwined with Determination and Faith.
Together we have walked
the rugged paths of our own cragged mountain;
and soared with eagle's wings in God's open skies.

As the dearest of friends and family
we have come to weather the storms and the sunshine
of each season that passes its winds through us.
For God gave us such blessings
in celebration of Life's wonder and its mystery
to be there for one another,
to give us a place of peacefulness,
surrounded by His cherished moments
of giving each other Love and gentle Strength
in our Prayer, in our Song and in our Living.

As we come upon
the rugged paths of our mountains
let us hold one another high with outstretched hands
in the sunshine of His golden wings,
as we listen to the music of our hearts
treasuring our memories, our hopes, our dreams.
For we will be here, always, for each other
bonded forever in our humanity …

for now time is upon us
as God has given us our moment
to Have Joy in this Day and Beyond.

© 2006 Anna Blake Godbout, My Words, My Time


05 July 2006

A happy moment

Here we are on the pitcher's mound after Jackson's team won the Dizzy Dean Baseball State Championship on July 3, 2006, in Hernando, Mississippi.

Prayer of Abandonment

Nan C. Merrill, author of Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness, reveals a bit about her childhood in an interview. Here is an excerpt:

My greatest fear growing up was of abandonment. My father was a traveling salesman. He was gone maybe 3 weeks out of the month. My mother was a very, very fearful person. Both of them had grown up with either various parents or no parents. And so I got this abandonment thing. A big part of my therapy was dealing with the fear of abandonment. And when I went to Detroit, I was introduced to the Prayer of Abandonment from Charles De Foucauld:

Beloved. I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever You may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all. I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and all your creatures.
I wish no more from this, my friend.
Into your hands I abandon my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart.
For I love you and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve, not without boundless confidence.
For you are the heart of my heart.

It’s been the prayer of my heart for over 20 years. It delights me that I have changed from fearing abandonment to choosing to abandon myself. So that liability has been turned into one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Be like water

THE HIGHEST MOTIVE in life is to be like water. It fights nothing or no one. It flows from and back to its source and in the flowing smooths and wears away all resistance.

Taoist Proverb

25 June 2006

The 4th Dimension

I'm going on a centering prayer retreat this week at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama. It is called an 8-day intensive in centering prayer. I have practiced this ancient form of Christian prayer for the past two years and have found it to be transformative.

Here is a quote from a source book for centering prayer, Thomas Keating's book, Open Mind, Open Heart:

The union established during prayer has to be integrated with the rest of reality. The presence of God should become a kind of fourth dimension to all of life. Our threedimensional world is not the real world because the most important dimension is missing; namely, that from which everything that exists is emerging and returning in each micro-cosmic moment of time. It is like adding a sound tract to a silent movie. The picture is the same, but the sound track makes it more alive. The contemplative state is established when contemplative prayer moves from being an experience or series of experiences to an abiding state of consciousness. The contemplative state enables one to rest and act at the same time because one is rooted in the source of both rest and action.

20 June 2006

Youth Advisory Delegates (YADs)

Meredith Carlson sent this photo of the Youth Advisory Delegates at the 2006 General Assembly. Ginny Monteith is towards the top in the center.
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18 June 2006

Implementation trumps Ideas

Technology Usage Stats

gsiemens in elearnspace wites:

Reading the most recent BusinessWeek, I encountered some intriguing statistics:

* Last year we produced more transistors than grains of rice (and surprisingly, we can produce a transistor at a lower cost than a grain of rice)

* Over 2 billion mobile phones are in use worldwide, compared with 820 million PC's

* Online activity is fairly level until the 65+ age category, where it drops from 74% to 32% (the highest is the 19-29 age group, at 88%)

* In the US, the size of the blog-reading audience is at 20% of the size of the audience of newspaper readers.

1:01 PM, Sunday Jun 18 2006 links ? BozPage River

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15 June 2006

PC(USA) receives historic $150 million gift for church growth

A Colorado businessman and elder has contributed a historic $150 million gift to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) aimed at helping presbyteries start new churches, transform struggling congregations and develop new racial-ethic congregations. The money from Stanley W. Anderson of Denver, CO, for the new Loaves and Fishes Church Growth Fund will be distributed to presbyteries through grants ranging from $250,000 to $1 million each. Presbyteries will be required to apply for the grants and will have to match a portion of it. [Read more]

PC(USA) - 217th General Assembly (2006)

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New Way to Fight Cancer


Nanoparticles armed to combat cancer

April 11th, 2006

Ultra-small particles loaded with medicine - and aimed with the precision of a rifle - are offering a promising new way to strike at cancer, according to researchers working at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

In a paper to appear the week of April 10 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team reports a way to custom design nanoparticles so they home in on dangerous cancer cells, then enter the cells to deliver lethal doses of chemotherapy. Normal, healthy cells remain unscathed.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Take out the trash

Yes, I do.
Spring Picnic at Batesville Presbyterian Church June 4, 2006 Posted by Picasa

14 June 2006

Google Earth version 4 Released

From KurzweilAI.net

Google Earth version 4 is a terrific program. In this newer version I was finally able to see my own house. This is an amazing tool that combines recent satellite imagery with a good map. See where you are. Locate yourself. See where you want to go. Click a button and fly there. Get written directions. Print the directions along with a map. This is good stuff. I highly recommend it.


Jon B.


Google Earth v4 Released

KurzweilAI.net, June 13, 2006

A new beta version of Google Earth features 3D textured buildings, better user interface, and higher resolution images.

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Solar Powered Scooters Are Coming

Solar Powered Scooters Are Coming : Gina Hughes : Yahoo! Tech

Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:15AM EDT

With soaring gas prices and increasing environmental concerns, it wasn't long before someone created a solar-powered scooter as the perfect alternative. Treehugger reports on the Solarin Turtle that can travel at a speed of 55 mph, and comes with a helmet fitted with hands-free technology.

So not only is this scooter good for the environment and your pocket, but it's also fitted with techie goodness. Although we're ready to see this type of transportation options in the market right now, Malaysians and the rest of the world will have to wait until May of next year.

Several countries including Europe, United States, Japan and China have already expressed great interest in the scooter, and the company views these demands as an encouraging sign. According to the article, the price may be around RM 3,000 ($820).


OK. This is what I want for Father's Day.


Jon B.

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Photos & Videos on the Web

Here are some links to the latest photo and video sites on the web from MIT's Technology Review.


Jon B.

Amateur Hour on the Web

Say good-bye to 500 cable channels -- the Internet has thousands of video producers. But is there anything on?

By Wade Roush

If there's room for one startup in a particular niche on the Web, there's room for 15 or 20. At least that seems to be the Net's resurrected credo.

And in some niches, it may even be true. When it comes to online photo storage and community photo sharing, for instance, the burgeoning population of amateur digital photographers is supporting many more sites than might be apparent at first, especially given all the media attention focused on one site: Yahoo's Flickr. There's also Bubbleshare, Fotki, Fotolog, Funtigo, Parazz, Phanfare, Photobucket, PhotoShow, PicPix, Picturecloud, Picturetrail, Pixagogo, Riya, Shutterfly, Smugmug, Snapfish, Tabblo, Webshots, and Zooomr, to name a few.

Now the boom in photo sharing has spread to the area of video sharing. New sites have been appearing every month, creating additional outlets and content choices for consumers who are snapping up -- and using -- increasingly affordable digital camcorders, video-recording cell phones, and portable media players. Most of these sites are free, to boot, and offer members the ability to upload their own digital videos to personal accounts, browse and search other members' videos, and download video files to hard drives or watch streaming-media versions.

A partial list of new entrants: AOL UnCut Video, blip.tv, Buzznet, CastPost, ClipShack, Dailymotion, Google Video, Jumpcut, Ourmedia, Revver, Streamload, Veoh, VideoEgg, Vimeo, vpod.tv, vSocial, the just-refurbished Yahoo Video, and, most popular, YouTube. And more video sites are in the works, but haven't officially launched, including Motionbox and Wallop. (Some of these sites also store photos, and vice-versa.

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Google Does Shakespeare

Google does Shakespeare

In support of New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park event, Google Books has created a nice landing page aggregating the complete works of the author. What better use could there be for Google Booksearch? What could better improve the PR of the controversial opt-out system for in-copyright books that Google has set up? To be fair, its search results won’t display the full text of books unless they are out of copyright. [For clarification on this, see the comment below from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch.]

The forthcoming Windows Live Booksearch announced last week a partnership with the Universities of California and Toronto and that program will take an opt-in approach to indexing copyrighted works, meaning that most rights holders will have to submit the works before they are included in the Live.com database.

These two big players will be competing soon for all your book-searching needs. Expect Google to come up with more themed offerings and simple, elegant project pages.

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Google Execs Hint at Voice Recognition Services and Devices

This would be a handy development. It would make Google search available to millions of people who do not have or computers with web connections since Google search could be accessed via cell phone.

Google Execs Hint at Voice Recognition Services and Devices: "Senior Google executives are dropping big hints that the company's future growth will come not just from PCs but from voice recognition services over mobile cellular phones and cars.

For starters, consider this quote on page 153 in the World is Flat from Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

'We do discriminate only to the degree that if you can't use a computer or don't have access to one, you can't use Google, but other than that if you can type you can use Google...there will be no discrimination in accessing knowledge....Let's imagine a group with a Google iPod one day and you tell it to search by voice - that would take care of the people who can't use a computer - and then [Google access] just becomes about the rate at which we can get cheap devices into people's hands.'

Now add in this recent lecture given at Stanford by Google VP Marissa Mayer. When pondering the future of search, she said (around the 38:00 mark):

"I think that voice technology is going to become advanced along in five years where you will be able to talk to search engines...Computers are going to show up in strange and useful places. BMW come September will have computers on board every single one of its cars...imagine driving on a road and saying 'I need to find the nearest fast food restaurant.' There's a lot of interesting things that can happen."

Finally, Google recently filed a patent to put more beef behind a prototype they have had up since the early 2000s.

Expect Google to make a run at making its search services available in places we can't even think about now. There are billions of people, particularly in developing nations, that have cars and cell phones but don't use computers. That's a huge market for Google and these comments certainly make it seem like they are serious about reaching these pockets. So serious, in fact, that they may even launch their own cheap devices to do so.

08 June 2006

Congress is selling out the Internet

Petition Signers 770,792
Coalition Groups 746
Blog Links 5,410
MySpace Friends 10,223

Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an iPod? Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law next week that gives giant corporations more control over what we do and see on the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality--the Internet's First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. BarnesandNoble.com doesn't have to outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your computer.

If Net Neutrality is gutted, many sites--including Google, eBay, and iTunes--must either pay protection money to companies like AT&T or risk having their websites process slowly. That why these high-tech pioneers, plus diverse groups ranging from MoveOn to Gun Owners of America, are opposing Congress' effort to gut Internet freedom.

You can do your part today--can you sign this petition telling your member of Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here:


I signed this petition, along with over 750,000 others so far. This petiton will be delivered to Congress before the House of Representatives votes next week. When you sign, you'll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress.

If companies like AT&T have their way, Web sites ranging from Google to eBay to iTunes either pay protection money to get into the "fast lane" or risk opening slowly on your computer. We can't let the Internet--this incredible medium which has been such a revolutionary force for democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speech--become captive to large corporations. 

Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Together, we do care about preserving the free and open Internet.

Please sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Internet freedom. Click here:



Jon B.

"Christians" by Maya Angelou

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04 June 2006

The Age of AIDS

Tonight I finished watching a very powerful documentary called The Age of AIDS produced by Frontline. The film is complemented by an informative website from which I have copied some highlights below.

We hear much ado about the bird flu these days and we all pray that humanity may be spared from this pandemic. Yet, humanity is already suffering from another pandemic that will likely remain with us for another generation. AIDS is a problem in Mississippi and around the world.

You may watch the film or explore the website from here. I respect Frontline for the thoughtful documentaries they produce and this one is an another excellent effort.

Jon B.

The first photo ever taken of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

On the 25th anniversary of the first diagnosed cases of AIDS, FRONTLINE examines one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known in "The Age of AIDS." After a quarter century of political denial and social stigma, of stunning scientific breakthroughs, bitter policy battles and inadequate prevention campaigns, HIV/AIDS continues to spread rapidly throughout much of the world, particularly in developing nations. To date, some 30 million people worldwide have already died of AIDS.

Positive Psychology :: Harvard

Go ahead and indulge your secret fantasies about being a student at Harvard University. Check out this free online course called "Positive Psychology" with Professor Tal D. Ben-Shahar. Here is the home page for the course. You may want to start by watching the video lectures. The best thing about the course (other than the price / which is free) is you don't have to take one single test. No grades. No papers. No pressure. What a wonderfully productive way to spend some "free time" studying at Harvard University online.

Jon B.

Our Purpose is Goal Alignment

"The purpose of a team is not goal attainment but goal alignment."

Taken from Peopleware : Productive Projects and Teams, 2nd Ed. (Paperback) by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister

Jaron Lanier quote

The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.

Jackson Pollock-a-sketch

Here is a free artwork tool that will help you paint with your mouse on your computer screen in a style reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. Click your mouse button to change colors. Move your mouse to paint. Go ahead and get creative. And there is no mess to clean up. I'll paste my source below.

Jon B.

In 2003, Miltos Manetas
created used someone else's work to make a site to create your own Jackson Pollock-esque "painting." Link |permalink

31 May 2006

Farewell to Dr. Paul Brown

Today is a sad day. Today I learned my close friend and mentor, Dr. Paul Brown, has died from injuries sustained in an auto accident. Paul and I had been emailing one another a couple of times a day and for the past 12 months or so I had been emailing my sermons to Paul to get his suggestions for improvement. Paul had recently retired as Professor of Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary which is where I got to know him. He was the professor who helped me with my D.Min. final project which was about preaching New Testament apocolyptic literature. From our intense interaction on that project we developed a close friendship. Now Paul, age 72 years, has gone home. He was hit by a big truck on his way to preach at the small church in Paragould, Arkansas where he served as Interim Pastor. Anyone who ever rode with Paul behind the wheel will not be surprised to learn he died in an automobile accident. I keenly remember the day I rode with him down Union Avenue in Memphis enroute to Beale Street after one of our D.Min. seminars. He had a certain freedom in his driving ... but then Paul had a certain freedom in everything he did. He was full speed ahead whether it was marching for justice or commenting on the appalling state of American politics or preaching the Word of God. Man, I will miss you. Thank you for all you gave me. You taught me how to preach, Paul. For that I will be forever grateful. See you upstairs sometime. Later, dude.

Dr. Paul Brown, a retired professor of Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary and Cumberland Presbyterian minister, died Monday evening at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis. He was 72. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, May 31 at Canale Funeral Home, 2700 Union Ext. Services will be held Thursday, June 1, at 1 p.m. at Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 3427 Appling Rd., Bartlett. Burial will follow at Mt. Comfort Cemetery in Hickory Valley, TN. Dr. Brown is survived by his wife, Beverly Pepper Brown; daughter, Shelley Brown; son, Chris Brown; daughter-in-law, Fontaine Taylor Brown; two grandsons, Christopher Thaxton and Paul Nolan, all of Memphis; and his sister Betty Foster of Kerrville, Texas. Dr. Brown, who received his Th.D. from Boston University School of Theology, was the first pastor of Germantown Cumberland Presbyterian Church and facilitated its construction. He served as pastorate for numerous congregations throughout the mid-south and was an active participant in a number of social causes. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Memphis Theological Seminary at 168 E. Parkway So., Memphis, TN 38104 or Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 3427 Appling Rd., Bartlett, TN 38133.

Jennifer's Prayer

God please help my mom and I
to get a alot of dogs out of the pound.
Also please help me to read the Bible
and pray for at least an hour.
Another thing is for me to use my knowledge

1. helping Ms. Sara's dogs
2. Getting dogs adopted
3. not using my knowledge
as much as I could

I found this prayer printed in blue and purple marker on a torn piece of white paper laying on a table in the church. I got my daughter's permission to post it here. Jennifer will be ten years old on her birthday later this month.

27 May 2006

Animusic - Pipe Dream

Animusic - Pipe Dream
3 min 30 sec - Nov 16, 2001

A group of percussion instruments perform music by way of metal balls that fly out from pipes. From the first Animusic DVD. Pipe Dream has been voted one of the 50 greatest animation projects ever (by 3D World magazine).

Jon B.

12 May 2006

Wii + we = web

Wii is the name of the next generation video game hardware from Nintendo which is pictured above. It was introduced to great fanfare at this week's annual electronic gaming conference, E3 2006. Nintendo had been calling the forthcoming controller Revolution but a week before E3 announced the real name was Wii, pronounced "we." This name change met with a less than cheerful reception by some Nintendo fans.

The Nintendo execs explained the reasoning behind the new name, Wii. They are trying to expand their business beyond traditional gamers into the majority of people who do not currently play video games. As a parent of two children who love games, and as a gamer myself, I like the name Wii. I think Nintendo is wise to reach out to a new audience with their newfangled controllers.

I think the name "Wii" picks up a trend I have noticed in the past few weeks. I see this theme in so-called social learning blogs. "We" is also a theme in the evolution of the web.

A very smart professor has written about this is an eloquent new book.

Yochai Benkler, Professor of Law at Yale University, has written a book titled The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom . The Wealth of Networks is a comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy. In it, Professor Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing—and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves.

The answer to "what's in it for me?" does not necessarily involve the corollary question of "what's NOT in it for you?" Market-based, proprietary models (MBPMs) assume that the only way to answer the question and give an incentive to create is to take rights away from others through exclusivity by way of trademark, patent, and copyright protections. Benkler counters this assumption by pointing out the fact that education, the arts, the sciences, and theological and political discourses have thrived on the NMNP model.

Peer production changes the question from what's in it for me to the better question: "What's in it for us?" The NMNP model allows a more expansive and inclusive "we." Technology has removed the high capital investment costs and allowed this expansion of "producers." Wikipedia and its kin prove that we can create useful information and better society and each other without the exclusivity that drives the MBPM. All that it takes is a realization of the two concepts ripe within this work:

  • What's in it for me does not necessarily involve the corollary question of what's NOT in it for you, and
  • The ultimate goal is to become part of the "we," asking and answering the better question of "What's in it for us?"
Yochai Benkler's lecture was presented on April 18, 2006 at Harvard Law School, hosted by The Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Produced by Colin Rhinesmith.

Download the MP3 (time: 41:22) ( Permalink )

We want fun and games plus the social interactions and increased communications that we call the web. So Wii plus we equals the web. At least that is how we hope it works out. In the meantime, we'll need to keep a close eye on government regulators and some corporations whose interest is more in "me" than in "we."

23 April 2006

China does the Web

The New York Times has posted a fine article by Clive Thomson. called

Google's China Problem (and China's Google Problem)

. The whole story, linked above, is worth a read. However, I found the following story within the story to be another amazing account of how the web is changing people's lives. Enjoy, Jon B.


Martin Parr for The New York Times

The World Wide Web, Abridged: Patrons in an internet cafe in Beijing. Chatting about sports, posting entries to blogs — fine. Visiting pro-democracy sites — no way.

Clive Thomson writes:

One afternoon I visited with Jiang Jingyi, a 29-year-old Chinese woman who makes her living selling clothes on eBay. When she opened the door to her apartment in a trendy area of Shanghai, I felt as if I'd accidentally stumbled into a chic SoHo boutique. Three long racks full of puffy winter jackets and sweaters dominated the center of the living room, and neat rows of designer running shoes and boots ringed the walls. As she served me tea in a bedroom with four computers stacked on a desk, Jiang told me, through an interpreter, that she used to work as a full-time graphic designer. But she was a shopaholic, she said, and one day decided to take some of the cheap clothes she'd found at a local factory and put them up for auction online. They sold quickly, and she made a 30 percent profit. Over the next three months, she sold more and more clothes, until one one day she realized that her eBay profits were outstripping her weekly paycheck. She quit her job and began auctioning full time, and now her monthly sales are in excess of 100,000 yuan, or about $12,000.

"My parents can't understand it," she said with a giggle, as she clicked at the computer to show me one of her latest auctions, a winter jacket selling for 300 yuan. (Her description of the jacket translated as "Very trendy! You will look cool!") At the moment, Jiang sells mostly to Chinese in other major cities, since China's rudimentary banking system and the lack of a reliable credit-card network mean there is no easy way to receive payments from outside the country. But when Paypal — eBay's online payment system — finally links the global market with the Chinese market, she says she will become a small international business, marketing cut-rate clothes directly to hipsters in London or Los Angeles.

21 April 2006

Preaching to Avatars

I'm thinking ten years from now people like me will be preaching to avatars in a virtual simulation of a sanctuary. The preacher will get up in the pulpit and the gathered people will see her there. And she will start to preach. And the people will hear her. Even soldiers on distant shores may be present along with billions of connected machines who will take due note. The congregation will sing and pray and the Spirit will move. Over wires. Or wireless. Or however bits will be getting dispersed to electronic devices at that time. And the devices will be some sort of virtual reality simulators. Perhaps not even noticeable to the physical eye. Maybe even implanted in the brain . Or projected from the listeners glasses or contact lens.

If this sounds far fetched consider where are today. Even today musicians are going to a virtual online world called Second Life and performing in coffee houses or outdoor venues. They are playing for people who are not really there although these people can hear and appreciate their music. The audience is composed of avatars, digital representations of people sitting at desktop or laptop computers circa 2006. And progress on these virtual environments continues to be made. Nearly every month there seems to be some new development on this front.

Yep. Ten years from now people like me will be preaching to avatars. And the sermon will be some sort of video podcast of a sermon preached 8 days ago or 8 months ago. And the congregation may be composed of worshipers from Alexandria or Clarksdale. What an amazing time to be alive! Viva la revolution!

17 April 2006

British History Online

British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, we aim to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research."

"With so much material now being published on the world wide web in either un-reviewed form, or in fee-based services, the IHR has shown its commitment to promoting the study of history by publishing these priceless resources for their historical value, cross-searchable, in one place and free of charge." Listed on College and university e-learning showcase [Via: The Scout Report]

/// Here is a place where you history buffs could get lost for hours. This is a virtual library containing a wealth of information including what may be considered an early version of blogging called Roger Whitley's Diary.  Peace, Jon B. ///

Easter Sunday 2006

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03 April 2006


This video shows a kid playing Pachelbel's Canon on his electric guitar.

I "discovered" this solo performance here and the post below is about the video.

"guitar" is a display of unalloyed physical virtuosity that preempts criticism. After a black screen, the opening bars of Pachelbel's Canon begin, and title cards identify the piece, adding, "Arranged by JerryC," and "Played by funtwo." Funtwo, presumably, then shows up: he's a young-looking guy in a T-shirt and a baseball cap that obscures his face. He's sitting by a computer and holding an electric guitar. He looks like any introverted kid with frontman fantasies.

Still, the anonymous image is arresting. Bright light shines through a window behind him, surrounding him with a glow; the effect is dreamlike. Funtwo then plays JerryC's rock embellishment over the classical piece with amazing dexterity, managing to enliven the music and create a lasting work of pop art. As the comments say: "dude teach me how to play," "it is undeniably one of the best solos ive ever see," "u could go up against jimi hendrix." What's most impressive about the performance is the combination of funtwo's shyness and his aggressive, guitar-god fingerwork.

Some posters try to suggest that the performance is fake; but someone called fablesoftherest seems to silence most of the skeptics: "I'll end the guesswork-the kid is for real," adding, "Funtwo's is the definitive version. This kid is destined to be one of the great guitarists of all time."

01 April 2006

We Are the Web

By Kevin Kelly

The scope of the Web today is hard to fathom. The total number of Web pages, including those that are dynamically created upon request and document files available through links, exceeds 600 billion. That's 100 pages per person alive.

How could we create so much, so fast, so well? In fewer than 4,000 days, we have encoded half a trillion versions of our collective story and put them in front of 1 billion people, or one-sixth of the world's population. That remarkable achievement was not in anyone's 10-year plan.

The accretion of tiny marvels can numb us to the arrival of the stupendous. Today, at any Net terminal, you can get: an amazing variety of music and video, an evolving encyclopedia, weather forecasts, help wanted ads, satellite images of anyplace on Earth, up-to-the-minute news from around the globe, tax forms, TV guides, road maps with driving directions, real-time stock quotes, telephone numbers, real estate listings with virtual walk-throughs, pictures of just about anything, sports scores, places to buy almost anything, records of political contributions, library catalogs, appliance manuals, live traffic reports, archives to major newspapers - all wrapped up in an interactive index that really works.

This view is spookily godlike. You can switch your gaze of a spot in the world from map to satellite to 3-D just by clicking. Recall the past? It's there. Or listen to the daily complaints and travails of almost anyone who blogs (and doesn't everyone?). I doubt angels have a better view of humanity.

Why aren't we more amazed by this fullness? Kings of old would have gone to war to win such abilities. Only small children would have dreamed such a magic window could be real. I have reviewed the expectations of waking adults and wise experts, and I can affirm that this comprehensive wealth of material, available on demand and free of charge, was not in anyone's scenario. Ten years ago, anyone silly enough to trumpet the above list as a vision of the near future would have been confronted by the evidence: There wasn't enough money in all the investment firms in the entire world to fund such a cornucopia. The success of the Web at this scale was impossible.

With the steady advance of new ways to share, the Web has embedded itself into every class, occupation, and region. Indeed, people's anxiety about the Internet being out of the mainstream seems quaint now. In part because of the ease of creation and dissemination, online culture is the culture. Likewise, the worry about the Internet being 100 percent male was entirely misplaced. Everyone missed the party celebrating the 2002 flip-point when women online first outnumbered men. Today, 52 percent of netizens are female. And, of course, the Internet is not and has never been a teenage realm. In 2005, the average user is a bone-creaking 41 years old.


I have been reading Kevin Kelly's musings in Wired magazine for several years. He is a great spokesman for the Internet.

I recall the first tme I saw the web. I was in the home of a friend. He started the Netscape browser and up came the home page. And the blue links. Everywhere! Click this one for CNN. Click this one for Newsweek. And I thought, wow, this is like having a subscription to every major magazine and newspaper in the country for $22 a month, the cost of an Internet connection. Amazing. And so it has continued to be.

I wonder about your first experience on the Internet. What was it like for you?

Jon B.


31 March 2006

Defense of Migrants Unites Mexican Media

Defense of Migrants Unites Mexican Media: "The United States may be divided on the illegal immigration issue, but Mexico is not.

In fact, the issues that sharply split U.S. public opinion don't provoke much debate at all in the country that supplies most of the immigrants. Just as U.S. commentators seldom discuss how immigration reform might affect the life of ordinary Mexicans, Mexican commentators express little concern about how illegal immigration affects American security or jobs. The debate has not figured in Mexico's ongoing presidential election, either. The three leading candidates blast each other on a host of issues -- but not on the subject of Mexicans living north of the border.

But while the issue is not divisive for Mexicans, it remains important. The Mexican online media does display a broad consensus that Mexicans in the United States, illegal or not, contribute to the well-being of both countries and deserve better treatment. The U.S. immigration debate has been front and center in Mexican coverage for months. When the House passed a bill in December calling for a permanent barrier along the border, Mexican commentators sounded the alarm.

Those concerns have given way in the past week to optimism, thanks to pro-immigrant demonstrations in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities and Senate approval of more moderate legislation.


Interesting how we seldom consider matters from the other person's point of view. This is one of the few times I have seen the immigration issue as viewed from the other side of the border.

Jon B.


Digital Divide Closing

Published: March 31, 2006
in the New York Times

According to a Pew national survey of people 18 and older, completed in February, 74 percent of whites go online, 61 percent of African-Americans do and 80 percent of English-speaking Hispanic-Americans report using the Internet. The survey did not look at non-English-speaking Hispanics, who some experts believe are not gaining access to the Internet in large numbers.

In a similar Pew survey in 1998, just 42 percent of white American adults said they used the Internet while only 23 percent of African-American adults did so. Forty percent of English-speaking Hispanic-Americans said they used the Internet.

In an effort to help erase the divide, the federal government has provided low-cost connections for schools, libraries, hospitals and health clinics, allocated money to expand in-home access to computers and the Internet for low-income families and given tax incentives to companies donating computer and technical training and for sponsoring community learning centers.

Erik S. Lesser The New York Times

Jazmyn Johnson, 9, recently helped her mother, Barbara, use their high-speed DSL Internet connection at their home in Duluth, Ga.

As a result of such efforts, "most kids, almost all kids, have a place in which they can go online and have gone online," said Ms. Rideout of the Kaiser foundation.

9 out of 10 of the 21 million Americans ages 12 to 17 use the Internet, according to a report issued in July by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Of them, 87 percent of white teenagers say they use the Internet, while 77 percent of black teenagers and 89 percent of Hispanic teenagers say they have access to it, the report said.


This is good news. Let's hope free wireless Internet access for all the people becomes available in the next 5-10 years.

Jon B.

30 March 2006

Just War Theory

Three years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, theologians and ethicists are assessing whether the military action was, indeed, morally Photo of Iraq War justified. They're debating if a preemptive war can be a just war, and what ethical principles should guide the decision to leave Iraq.

The widely accepted moral framework for the discussion is the just war tradition -- a set of teachings that began with Saint Augustine in the 4th century and were further developed by Saint Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. The tradition says in order for a war to be just: there must be a just cause; it must be declared by the proper government authority; there must be a right intention and a probability of success. War must be a last resort, and the means used should be proportional to the desired ends. link

Read the transcript to "Iraq: Just War Tradition " from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly for a consideration of the Iraq War in light of the just war tradition. Several viewpoints are clearly and concisely delineated without taking sides.

Just War theory is the attempt to distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable uses of organized armed forces. Just War theories attempt to conceive of how the use of arms might be restrained, made more humane, and ultimately directed towards the aim of establishing lasting peace and justice.

The just-war tradition is as old as warfare itself. Early records of collective fighting indicate that some moral considerations were used by warriors. They may have involved consideration of women and children or the treatment of prisoners. Commonly they invoked considerations of honour: some acts in war have always been deemed dishonourable, whilst others have been deemed honourable. Whilst the specifics of what is honourable differ with time and place, the very fact of one moral virtue has been sufficient to infuse warfare with moral concerns. The just war theory also has a long history. While parts of the Bible hint at ethical behaviour in war and concepts of just cause, the most systematic exposition is given by Saint Thomas Aquinas. In the Summa Theologicae Aquinas presents the general outline of what becomes the just war theory. He discusses not only the justification of war, but also the kinds of activity that are permissible in war. Aquinas's thoughts become the model for later Scholastics and Jurists to expand.

The "just war theory" has received widespread acceptance both within Western culture and in the international community as a means by which a war may be determined to be justified or not.

The "Christian just war theory" (justum bellum), is a 1600-year-old attempt to answer the questions:
1- "When is it permissible to wage war?" (jus ad bellum),
2- And "What are the rules that govern just and fair conduct in war and after war, what are the limitations on the ways we wage war?" (jus in bello).

In today's world, the Just War Tradition provides moral guidance to political leaders as they consider the resort to force, and provide guidance to military planners as they plan the conduct of the war and prosecute it. And it can provide guidance for responsible Christian citizenship.

23 March 2006

2020 Computing: The creativity machine

by Vernor Vinge
Vernor Vinge is an emeritus professor of computer science at San Diego State University. His novel Rainbows End (2006) considers the Internet of 2025.

What will emerge from using the Internet as a research tool? The answer, Vernor Vinge argues, will be limited only by our imaginations.

We humans have built a creativity machine. It's the sum of three things: a few hundred million computers, a communication system connecting those computers, and some millions of human beings using those computers and communications.

This creativity machine is the Internet. It has already changed the way we do science, most importantly by enhancing collaboration between researchers. The present-day Internet provides convenient connections between computerized labs, simulations and research databases. It also represents an enormous financial investment that is driven by the demands of hundreds of millions of consumers. As such, the total Internet software and infrastructure investment dwarfs the budgets of scientific research programmes and even of many government defence programmes. And more than any megaproject of the past, the essence of the Internet is to provide coordinated processing of information. For researchers seeking resources, these are facts worth considering.

In 15 years, we are likely to have processing power that is 1,000 times greater than today, and an even larger increase in the number of network-connected devices (such as tiny sensors and effectors). Among other things, these improvements will add a layer of networking beneath what we have today, to create a world come alive with trillions of tiny devices that know what they are, where they are and how to communicate with their near neighbours, and thus, with anything in the world. Much of the planetary sensing that is part of the scientific enterprise will be implicit in this new digital Gaia. The Internet will have leaked out, to become coincident with Earth.

The notion of enlisting users to create content is widespread on the contemporary Internet. Companies such as Google provide users with tools to integrate search and mapping services into their own websites. Interested users are numerous and have their own resources. (taken from here) ///

My take ... It seems to me the internet is evolving into a communication enhancement device for ordinary people such as myself. We humans want to communicate with other humans. That is what e-manna is about -- my attempt to communicate my thoughts and observations from explorations on the web. Here is a way to say, Look what I found! and to make it available to whomever else may wish to view it. It also serves as a personal journal of web exploration. It is hard to imagine where this may lead to even fifteen years from now but I hope I am around to find out.

Jon B.

15 March 2006

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

Anne Rice has written a beautiful fictional account of the childhood of Jesus. Although fiction, the book is based on the gospels and on the most respected New Testament scholarship. This is a well written story that simply will teach you things you didn't know about the life and times of Jesus and paint portraits of his childhood that seem very real.

From the Kirkus Reviews on the back cover: "Essentially it's a mystery story, of the child grappling to understand his miraculous gifts and numinous birth . . . As he ponders his staggering responsibility, the boy is fully believable--and yet there's something in his supernatural empathy and blazing intelligence that conveys the wondrousness of a boy like no other. With this novel, Anne Rice has indeed found a convincing version of him; this is fiction that transcends story and instead qualifies as an act of faith."

This is good reading for Lent or any time of the liturgical year. I recommend it.

Christ the Lord : Out of Egypt

See larger image

Christ the Lord : Out of Egypt (Hardcover)
by Anne Rice

12 March 2006

Talkin' bout my generation


Living in Chicago we hear sad news stories quite a bit. Due to drugs and gang warfare "drive-by" shootings take place all too often.

This got me to thinking about how many of us experience much the same in terms of basic intimacy.

We cannot always stop and truly engage. At times we of course can and must. But the real issue I wish to tackle is the matter of common distance that we not only need, but in other points of life need to be rid of! Our deep need is God's love in koinonia.

This is the New Testament Greek word for "fellowship". How can Christians find spiritual, practical fellowship at a deeper level? How can we move beyond superficiality?

Many people are starving for a rich, biblical koinonia that has apparently escaped
them. I suggest that it's all about being physically present with one another, taking time, making the time to listen, talk, interact. All the while, all parties must also learn to truly interact with the Holy Spirit Who creates and moves us to a unity that is as needed as it is refreshing!

Let there be no doubt, getting up close and personal with ANY human being is risky business.

People hurt people and as sure as you've been hurt by others, you've hurt them as well.

I'm convinced that the fear of being hurt, wronged, or simply misunderstood are all reasons many avoid the whole process. But if we choose to walk alone and distance ourselves we are also choosing the very lack of significant relationships... exactly the sort of relationships we're so starved for.

My mother was a beautiful but stubborn and insecure person. She wanted (and mostly lacked) a real sense of security throughout her life due to running from one man to the next. She eventually burned so many bridges- even with her female friends- that she had few if any friends left at the end of her life.

By God's grace she prayed with my wife to receive Jesus just before she died, but it was a sad life she had lived and had clearly chosen for herself. She often said Wendi and I were some of "the only one's" she had left.

There's little mystery why so many people- including sincere Christians- continue hungry and unfulfilled for a koinonia and depth of unity that seems "just out of reach". But it costs. It costs us our independence, time, getting our own way in all things, and it costs us our pride.

Admitting our sins, forgiving those who sin against us, all of this is an absolute must for the sort of depth of relationship I'm talking about.

This is the road God calls us to walk, to live on. There just isn't any other route! Further, it's worth the risk and sacrifice. Many -including this writer- can attest to that.

Don't keep driving by... stop! Continual refusal to do so is quite like pulling the trigger on yourself.

Drive-by relationships are not the solution to our deepest needs. Never were-never will be. ///

The post above by Glenn Kaiser may give you some idea why he so appealed to me during my adolescent years. He has such a frank way of speaking about his own pain and the pain of others and the healing Jesus offers us all. Glenn is the lead singer in Resurrection Band which was my favorite teenage band. Here are some mp3's of him speaking on various topics. Let me add the disclaimer here that we are in complete theological agreement on all matters but Glenn's voice is one that has spoken to me in the past and perhaps it will speak to you in the present.

My teenage years were spent in the "Jesus Movement" and the "Jesus People USA" in Chicago were the leaders of that movement. I even heard Resurrection Band in concert in Meridian once and each month I looked forward to receiving their Cornerstone magazine . You may read the column Cornerstone published when Bob Dylan came out with his Slow Train Comin' album in 1979. Dylan's "Slow Train Comin'" album seemed to indicate he'd become a Christian. It is hard to explain the joy this brought to the hearts of myself and my friends in the Jesus movement. Since then my Christian faith has been enlarged by my life experiences and theological education. I am not the same person I was when I was 16 years old. I love the person I was then and I am at peace with the person I am now.

These reflections about my adolescent religious experience brought me to a listing of "American Generations" that I found so interesting I have pasted it here for your consideration. You may follow some of these links and see if they ring true to your own experience or the experience of other people you know. I wonder what the "generations" list would look like for people who have grown up in Africa or Asia or the Middle East. And I wonder what effect our American generations have had on their lives and vice versa. As our world becomes ever more interconnected and tiny there may come a day when such a list may be entitled "Earth Generations."

American Generations
Term Period
Awakening Generation 1701-1723
First Great Awakening 1730-1740
Liberty Generation
Republican Generation
Compromise Generation
Second Great Awakening 1790-1840
Transcendental Generation
Gilded Generation
Progressive Generation
Missionary Awakening 1886-1908
Missionary Generation
Lost Generation
Interbellum Generation
G.I. Generation
Greatest Generation
American High 1929-1956
Silent Generation
Baby Boomers
Beat Generation
Generation Jones
Consciousness Revolution 1964-1984
Baby Busters
Generation X
MTV Generation
Culture Wars 1984-2005
Boomerang Generation
Generation Y
New Silent Generation
Crisis of 2020 2020-
Jon B.