Friday, February 24, 2006

a limeric

I made this one up in the last couple of days. Click on the above heading for more:

when willie reinvented the wheel
we laughed and called him a shlemiel
while we were still laugh’n
he took out a patent
now, it’s his licence fees that make us reel

(disclaimer: the name 'willie' has absolutely no reference to anyone else of that name who likes to patent software to strenghen their monopoly)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

Another quiz from Quiz Farm. This one places you in the right spaceship crew where you will no doubt get along with like-minded space travellors.

I don't think I've seen Babylon 5. Could someone cue me in on if they're good people to work with?

You scored as Babylon 5 (Babylon 5). The universe is erupting into war and your government picks the wrong side. How much worse could things get? It doesn�t matter, because no matter what you have your friends and you�ll do the right thing. In the end that will be all that matters. Now if only the Psi Cops would leave you alone.

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Moya (Farscape)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Serenity (Firefly)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Alan Creech on Brokenness

Alan Creech has a good series going on brokenness. That is -- "broken" as in "not in working order", or what makes us sin. Augustine called it "original sin", the rabbis, "the evil urge". These theologies are different, but both point to the fact that we're broken and need fixing.

I know there's also a very legitamate use of the term "broken" as in "broken and contrite", or being very humble before God. In fact, that's probably the ultimate answer to the "brokenness" Alan Chreech is talking about. I'm sure Alan would agree. However, his use of the term is not to be confused with the other.

In the Christian world, we tend to major on the Grace of God through Yeshua in terms of forgiveness of sin. That is an important concept, but we often fail to realise the other side -- Grace as power to resist the urge to sin, and in many cases, to heal us of that urge.

The urge to sin affects everyone differently. Some have just the usual urges, for normal sex, to over-eat, etc. Others, for reasons beyond their control, find themselves fighting other urges, such as homosexuality, the urge to have sex with children, etc. God doesn't love one group less than the other, although those who are more deeply fractured may need God's grace in a more profound way.

Anyway, here are the three posts Alan has out so far:

Brokenness 1
Brokenness 2
Brokenness 3

So...happy reading.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Racial Prejudice

Yet another article from the LAST issue of Infinite Matrix...

As far back as 1976, living in Southern California, I had started believing that thanks to Martin Luther King jr., the Flower Children and the Jesus Movement, racial prejudice was a thing of the past -- until I heard differently from my black friends. A white person like me just doesn't hit the walls or get the looks that black people do, so I would have gone on living in blissful ignorance.

A further observation: I would have never realised how many barriers there are towards Asians in Northern Ireland -- even within Christian groups that emphesise experience with the Holy Spirit -- had I not been living here married to a Thai person. It's been an uphill battle for my wife to make any friends here. She normally doesn't have trouble making friends -- she has plenty of those in Thailand, both Thai and Western. One difference there is that most of her Western friends are YWAM missionaries -- a mission that emphesises healing from blockages that would come in the way of relationships. Here, we are living in a small out-of-the-way town. I suppose Belfast would be more open, being a bit more cosmopolitan. My wife notes that many people she sees don't seem to have close friends -- period -- so she sometimes goes out of her way to reach out to some of these. We do have a few good friends now, but we plan to move back to Thailand later this year (but not for the negative reason of rejection of Asians here, but for a possitive one, to get involved in the work there).

Anyway, Pam Noles' article is a good read. It's about her growing up with a love for Science Fiction, as a black girl, despite the fact that very few characters were black, or even brown.

Among the things I would never have noticed (until I read the Pam' article), is that the very first episode of Starwars, which I saw back about 1976 or so, has not a single black actor. A few different shaped beings, yes, but not a single brown or black skinned human. In the entire "galaxy far far away", not a single back or brown person appears until the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, and even then it's not a character the black community can be proud of.

Even where writers like Ursula K. Le Guin have cast their characters in black and brown, the Hollywood television and film industry still insists on painting them white.

It's sad that the church, far from being the force for sharing healing love and breaking down those barriers, like we've been called to do, remains one of the most segregated institutions on earth ... something to seriously pray about ... and act on like our lives depended on it. Yeshua is coming back for a bride without spot or blemish, and according to the book of James, this is a major-major blemish.

Anyway, read away...

Monday, February 06, 2006

writing science fiction during the third world war

Before I comment on the above linked title, let me share how I see world forces aligning themselves.

We seem to be seeing quite a large number of new ideas and philosophies rising up to challenge old world standards. One example which would be most obvious to anyone whose been reading my blog would be the Emergent Church scene as opposed to the traditional way of doing church. There should be enough links on this page in case you're wondering what that's all about.

For a while, I've been thinking about how much the Emerging Church movement shares with the Open Source movement in computer software.

"Open Source" might require some explanation for some of my readers. Examples of Open Source software are the LINUX operating system, Open, Mozilla Firefox, and a host of other software projects that allow the user to download the software for free, and even modify it, with the condition that whatever modifications are made become available to the whole software development community. In the same way that Emerging Church is challenging the traditional churches, Open Source is causing headaches for corporate giants like Microsoft.

Maybe I should have titled this blog, Breaking the Monopolies.

The above link to the article by Eleanor Arnason takes the concept into another area, that of the power of the State, the forces behind globalisation, free trade, etc, versus local small farmers victimised by globalisation, AIDS victims who can't pay for patented drugs (and prevented by copyright law from using the cheaper varieties that could save their lives), the activists, and even terrorist organisations. Even war is beginning to be fought differently than before. Eleanor refers to an article by William Lind, called
Understanding Fourth Generation War, also interesting reading in this light.

Eleanor's essay was originally written during the early build-up to the war in Iraq. Even her update was written before the current uproar over the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish press. The international uproar caused by a single nation's application of freedom of the press inside its own national boarders, further underlines her points.

So the alignment sort of looks like this. On one side, we have traditional church structure, big corporations with their proprietary technologies, the power of the State on which those corporations depend, WTO/G7 style globalisation, etc., all of which seem to be mutually supportive; and on the other: Emerging Church, Open Source software, people rights movements, various autonomous people groups fighting for liberation, and yes, terrorist organisations like Al Queda and Hamas.

Please don't think I'm equating Emerging Church and Open Source software with international terrorism. I'm simply observing the direction in which power and energy seem to be moving -- towards less centralisation, greater input by ordinary people, and and breaking up of monopolys. In some cases, it's for the better, and in others, for evil.

In a world like we seem to be approaching, the Emergent movement could be in a vary good position to bring the Kingdom of God into people's lives. If we're willing to leave our comfort zones (which look like their dissappearing anyway) there is untold opportunity. It's called being as wise as serpents while being as innocent as doves.

Anyway, do read
Eleanor's essay, and someone, please start a discussion somewhere (my own blog doesn't seem to be attracting many of those) on what the Kingdom of God will look like in the "Brave New World" that we can see approaching.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


In many Christian circles, it seems, the only way to deal with homosexuality is with a sledgehammer. The only other alternative, it seems, is to say it's okay.

Scott McKnight (again!) has been treatin the subject in his blog in what I find to be a well ballanced way. Below, I've listed the entries he has so far, in case you want to catch up:

Making Moral Decisions: Homosexuality
Homosexuality: Context 1 and 2
Homosexuality: Context 3 and 4
Context: Defining homosexuality 1
Context: Defining homosexuality 2
Jesus and Homosexuality 1
Jesus and Homosexuality 2
Jesus and Homosexuality 3