The definition of sin is arguing with God.
It won’t matter what your arguments are, when you disagree with God, you are asking for His wrath. Granted, if you don’t believe in Him nor His revelation, then it won’t matter to you what I might claim God has to say. That’s okay, because I’m sure God has plenty of issues with me, too.
There’s a lot of stuff passing before my gaze in this world, and far too much of it thrust in my face, which is pretty easy to mark as “sin” by that definition. Not in the absolute sense, because I can only know what I can discern from my own spirit, and when I label something “sin,” it’s more about my understanding of God’s revelation than it is about God. My theology is nothing more than my attempt to formulate a response to something I can’t really describe. But that’s all God requires of me. He demands I wrestle with the issues using whatever limited talents and faculties I possess, and when I find some sense of peace about them, I am permitted to declare, “Thus saith the Lord.” All I’ve said is this is what I believe He tells me.
How you respond is entirely between you and Him. Go and do your own wrestling, if my words provoke you. But if what I say provokes you not at all, then ignore me. I’m fine with that; I encourage it. Don’t trust me. If what I express does not move you, it’s not for you in the first place. That doesn’t mean you’ll escape His wrath, but it means He’s not trying to get your attention through my words, so maybe He has other plans for you. The point is, it’s not my problem. Nothing I do or so or imagine can make it my problem. I won’t get into trouble with God because you don’t listen, if I can’t get your attention. All that’s required of me is to be faithful with what I have.
So when I say things about LGBT issues, I stand where I best understand God requires me to stand. I care not a whit how you feel, nor the feelings of anyone who claims any part of that. That’s because my feelings don’t matter, either.
Most of the time I don’t address it at all. It’s not as if folks have never heard about the Bible or what it has to say about such things. There are plenty of misrepresentations about it, but most of that is in regards to what we are supposed to do with it, not what God calls “sin.” His viewpoint hasn’t changed since before folks used writing. It’s almost tiresome to talk about it anymore, and I have no great urge to preach about how it will destroy our civilization. Sorry, but the foibles of human sexuality are merely a symptom of much greater sins. You can’t simply pick out crossing gender lines as the whole problem, because that’s just a tiny part of it.
But the greater sin is demanding civil legislation which addresses the issue either way. Until we get fundamental justice on the right track, there’s not much point cherry picking polarizing topics for legislation and propaganda. It’s nobody’s business what the creature called Chaz Bono thinks it is. So long as that person isn’t poking around in your home life creating trouble, it’s just a distraction to put their face and name on TV. People silly enough to watch much TV aren’t going to get much right in the first place. Frankly it’s a much bigger problem having nearly naked women cavorting on the screen with men in clearly sensual poses and moves designed to cheapen sex, and then making it a high-paid business. We’ve got serious problems, and the only problem with the likes of Chaz Bono is a political agenda which seeks to make my faith and calling illegal.
The reason that agenda exists is because those who claim to represent God are doing such a poor job of it. Sure, Chaz wants to argue with God about what He had in mind at birth. Most Western churches argue with God about what He had in mind at the birth of churches, too. Churches want to use human laws for all the wrong purposes, so the LGBT Lobby does the same thing. The grace of God cannot be accomplished by human power. So often and so bluntly has God said that, it’s pretty easy to add, “thus saith the Lord.” There are some Laws God revealed, but we aren’t even close to getting that working right here in the West, so we best leave that alone until we understand the fundamental assumptions behind all God’s Laws. Chaz Bono doesn’t need therapy, corrective surgery, jail nor acceptance; Chaz needs to see God’s truth in action. I dare say that hasn’t happened yet.
When we quit arguing with God ourselves, most everything else takes care of itself.
My friends in the Northeast tell me Irene wasn’t so strong as she was just full of rain with some wind. Local flooding and power outages abound, but it sounds like the utilities are coming back pretty well. Meanwhile, we have wildfires here in the Heartland. Just a dozen miles from here semi-rural real areas are burning, covering several sections (square mile areas). Other parts of the state here are seeing more such fires, too.
We are under no threat here for the time being. So today I was refitting my bicycle.
My knees are giving me just a bit of relief, enough that I can walk more. I got my hands on a really nice welded aluminum basket set for the rear, but had to cut off chunks to make it fit. It was designed for a smaller bike frame, so I modified it to sit on my existing rack. I’m also working on designing a front carrier of some sort. It’s tricky because I have shocks on the front, so whatever I devise can’t attach on the lower forks. Hopefully I can come up with something versatile.
It’s important to me in the midst of all these natural disasters because the man-made economic disaster has yet to show it’s worst face. For example, the Dollar Index (dollar value against other currencies) had been trending down until the banks in Europe, particularly Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) started hitting the insolvency wall. That brought the Euro down a bit against the dollar. But the trend is clear, and at some invisible point, if history is any indication, the thing will simply plummet as everyone panics and decides to dump their dollar assets. Depending on whom you ask, that line is around 60 or 65. It’s been sliding slowly down under 74 in the past week. It had touched 73 briefly a couple months back, and it seems sure to be there again soon.
There are other indicators, such as the gold price and some other things. If you analyze them all from the perspective of what keeps them from getting out of control all at once, it’s a lot of background work from various government and big-bank proxies. What makes these things noteworthy is the apparent level of effort is reaching a saturation point, and we see a decreasing return on investment, as it were. Doing all they can, it’s still sliding down, just a wee bit slower than otherwise. There isn’t much left to throw at it.
I don’t have a word from God on these things, and I won’t pretend I’m smart enough to estimate what and when. I do believe I understand enough to see sweat beading on many brows as their strength begins to fail. So I’m getting my bicycle ready to use more like a substitute car. During the time when my knees wouldn’t let me walk much, I managed a couple of rides near or over 30 miles. Not much for a serious cyclist, but pretty good for an old fat guy on a mountain bike. So long as our grocery stores have something to fetch, I can get to one or another with just a 5 or 6 mile ride one way. Sam’s Club is just over 7 and a Wal-Mart is 9. Nothing worth the trouble is any farther out. So I figure I can fetch what will fit on a bicycle until there’s nothing left to fetch.
I’ve grown weary of folks like the 700 Club President saying Irene was a warning from God. No, it’s too late for warnings. The wrath has begun, and it won’t stop until we as a nation are toast. Given all the incredibly foolish things we have done earning that wrath, hurrying the process along, it should be one wild ride.
It’s my foolish personal opinion September will see some truly crazy changes in our American way of life. Lordy, I hope I’m wrong.
Thanks to my good friend, Mark, we now know Diaspora is working. I’ve got my account set up, and I’m using the nym: br073n — a blatantly religious nick based on a geek spelling for “broken”. It’s still a work in progress, and I’ve found Opera doesn’t work at all well on the site. Still, come and join us!
I’m at a loss for words due to a generous computer ministry client.
I spent the whole evening, up almost to midnight, helping someone. It was no big deal; these are fine people and old friends. Their Sony Vaio RS620G running XP had given them BSODs. We debated upgrading to Win7, but I couldn’t promise I could fix the BSODs. Besides, I knew the graphics card was badly dated (Radeon 9200) and it wouldn’t do videos that well. So they decided to just buy a new one. Went to Sam’s Club and he picked out a really fancy HP Pavilion with a huge monitor and quad-core CPU.
It took me about three hours to break down the old one, unpack and set up the new one, and then answer all their questions while doing basic setup tasks. They have a pretty extensive computer desk, so the cables had to go through all the right holes. They told me to take the Viao home and give it a good home if I could. Then they gave me a couple other gifts and some cash. It was far more than I expected. That will probably be a dandy Linux server.
I’ve done it for several folks without any kind of offerings, and never looked back. This was huge, and more than makes up the difference. Since I’m about the pass out from exhaustion, it will have to wait until tomorrow to see what I can get to run on it. Sometimes you just run out of words.
Update: Turns out the machine’s graphics card was burned out. Sony’s factory had placed another accessory card too close to the Radeon AGP card and it got overheated enough to quit working properly. Fortunately, a replacement was in stock at my favorite computer parts house just a half-hour bike ride away. We are now up and running Ubuntu Lucid.
Update 2: I eventually gave this computer away to someone who didn’t have one. They are enjoying it right now (December 2011).
A corollary to consistency is the power to resist attacks.
Every civilization has predators within and barbarians without. What makes a civilization strong is many things, but among them is the ability to take and hold real estate against attacks. The Internet is a metaphor for geography, and the greatness of the rising Networked Civilization is how well it exploits available resources, and fends off attacks from those less well suited.
When the geography was small and simple, the Internet was exclusive to those who could be trusted a priori. That was long ago. The strongest form of virtual life on the Internet now is the device which can face the onslaught of predations without disconnecting. In simplest terms, that would be a computer with good security against known and likely attempts to hijack. Every civilization attempts to tame the wilderness and pacify the barbarians, but it first has to survive them without losing its character as a civilization.
God does not smile on a civilization which cheats on His moral laws, and the Networked Civilization is not exempt. The task is to abstract them properly to our context.
Conquering and pacifying goes too far when it crushes the freedom of your citizens. What’s the point? Civilized people aren’t quick to slaughter, but they also don’t disarm those under threat. In the real world, there cannot ever be a time and place when there is no threat so long as there is more than three living souls. It’s the nature of this plane of existence, and it’s the nature of the Net. Civilized people prepare themselves to face threats based on probabilities, not wishes.
If you realize the necessity for computer security, you should recognize the same need for your mind. Your place on the Net becomes strong when your machine and mind together are prepared for attacks. The very nature of civility is cynicism. You expect to encounter a generous helping of fools and predators, and you prepare accordingly. The moral high ground is not demanding everyone else behave, but demanding it first of yourself, then conspicuously contrasting your manner against others. You expect to be in the minority against the larger population, but if some few don’t show the way, it all comes apart. To be civilized is to hold uncommon high morality, and to offer whatever defense is necessary to keep it.
Taking a single potshot and running away is cowardly and common. Trolling is a favorite pastime of those with nothing better to do, whose real lives are so empty, causing trouble in the Net is all they have. Whining is unbearable. If we object to these things, we should object to them in ourselves. Civilized people are committed to a standard they can’t actually achieve, but never quit trying. The elite generally succeed, and deserve all the wealth and power that tends to come with it. Whatever it is that counts for success in civilization depends on self-discipline in pursuit of making the world more thoroughly civilized. Moral superiority is not compelling compliance in others, but inspiring it.
Don’t get too wrapped up in yourself, nor in despising what strikes you as riffraff. Civility keeps the doors open to peace and takes nothing personal, even when it’s intended as a personal insult. Consider the source. Everyone can change, and the best way to help them want to change is let them see your character. That character should include relative resistance to attacks, baiting, trolling, and other digressions from the matter at hand. Computers don’t care; they are serene. You can be serene on your own level.
Serenity is a virtue, and makes God smile.
Getting the latest and greatest Lynx browser for Windows is possible.
I’m working with Thomas Dickey to get his latest iteration of Lynx for Windows working properly. My focus is on the PDcurses color version with all the latest patches. If you would like to test it with me, there are some external support packages you’ll need to install first.
1. Get the C++ Redistributable libraries from MS. Just install it; you aren’t likely to see any conflicts with anything.
3. You’ll also need Gzip and Bzip2. This will require a bit more work than any other part. These packages come from GnuWin32, of which I’ve written in previous posts here. For each package you want to install, click the “Setup” link off to the right of the list to download. These all install in
C:\Program Files\GnuWin32\bin\ and you’ll need to make sure that goes into your system’s PATH statement. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Proceed with caution!
I’m using Windows 7 for this, so the link is “Computer” instead of the older “My Computer.” Right click on the link and select “Properties” from the context menu. Select “Advanced system settings” — a window will open with several tabs at the top. Select “Advanced” and hit the button at the bottom marked “Environment Variables…” This opens yet another window with two panes and buttons for each one. In the bottom pane, scroll down to the word “Path” and click the “Edit” button. You will see a very small window with an edit field. The whole thing will come up highlighted, so be careful what keys you hit, because typing will replace what’s there. It will really ruin your day, and your computer. I hit the END key to remove the highlight and place the cursor at the end of the line. Make sure you know where that “Cancel” button is in case you fat-finger things.
Add a semicolon. Then add this —
C:\Program Files\GnuWin32\bin\. Be sure you get it exact, either by typing carefully, or copy and paste carefully. Once you have it, start hitting the “OK” buttons until it’s all closed. You’ll have to reboot the computer for this to take effect. Once the GnuWin32 packages are in your system path, they’ll be found automatically when anything needs them. This includes Lynx asking for Gzip or Bzip, which does happen on some webpages.
Then, download and install your choice from among the various Lynx packages at Invisible Island. The installer should place an icon on your desktop. Depending on your habits, the thing should work well enough as is. Making changes requires you dig into the configuration file and variables for Lynx. You can change the color scheme of the display, what it loads as the start page, etc. Also, if the window which opens when you double-click the icon is not suitable, you can right-click on the top bar of the window frame and set the options for fonts and window shape/size, and Windows 7 remembers them automatically. I recall XP asks if you want to save them by modifying the icon settings.
As noted, the current packages as of this writing are still a work in progress. Mr. Dickey is aware of some display problems and, in the midst of several other projects on his hands, he’s trying to fix this. In my testing, I find any site which requires Lynx to process a webpage through Bzip or Gzip causes ghost text to display from background processing, which makes things hard to read. Not many sites I visit use either of those libraries, so you may not have a problem with this.
For those of you not familiar with text-mode web surfing, it can take quite some time to adjust to the vertical display layout. All web pages are shown in a single vertical column. Most web pages with multiple columns display starting with the left column, stacking the other columns below in whatever order the page codes them, usually left to right. Quite a few elements are simply not displayed; the whole point is to get the text and little else. Lots of spacing is lost; some pages render the paragraphs without any blank lines between them. Tables (data in columns and rows) are unstacked, too, and it makes them hard to read. Keep your eye on the status bar at the bottom of the screen in case you need to make some input from the keyboard.
Links are a different color from regular text, and the “cursor” selecting them moves by changing that color. It always starts at the top of the page. Moving from one link to the next is the UP or DOWN arrows. The RIGHT arrow always selects the current link and loads whatever is at the other end. The LEFT arrow takes you back to the previous page. Moving up and down responds to the usual PGDN and PGUP. There is a hard-coded limit on short movement, two lines at a time. The DEL key shifts the display down two lines, INS up two lines. If you want to capture any text displayed on the screen, first right-click and select “Mark”, then highlight in the usual fashion with your mouse. Right-click again and it’s on the clipboard. There are dozens of other tricks you can learn by trial and error. Explore.
The colors of the text are controlled by a configuration file which ends in “lss”. The default color scheme is
opaque.lss. You can learn to edit the file itself or choose one of the other files bundled in the package by editing the
lynx.cfg, way down at the bottom. We don’t have room to explore all that here, so you’ll have to learn how to parse those files which are kept in the same folder as the Lynx executable at which the desktop icon is pointing. If nothing else, you can examine the LSS file and discern what elements get which color.
Plain text web browsing is much faster, so it’s really useful for slow connections. It’s also a good way to filter out distractions when text is what you seek. Finally, since it’s about as secure as it gets, because it won’t automatically download or render anything likely to harm your computer. By default, cookies are not persistent, so you can accept the all when when the status bar offers the option. I just hit “A” every time, because for sites like the New York Times, it gets the article without any hassle. When you close the browser (hit “Q”) the cookies are erased and you can do it all again. The only drawback is some servers won’t allow Lynx because at one time crackers used it for mucking around in websites. I typically protest to the Webmaster if I can identify an address for the site in question.
Update: Mr. Dickey informs me you can turn off the encoding feature which tells websites you can’t accept any compression. Most sites will likely honor this. In your
lynx.cfg hunt down a reference to “PREFERRED_ENCODING”. Remove the hash mark (#) in front it, then change the “all” to “none”. This is a temporary fix until he has a chance to trace the source of the problem using Bzip2.