A Night of TV Monday, May 19 2008 

I’m tired today (after not feeling well and taking my poor Mel to a specialist vet over 30 minutes’ drive away and eating a really yucky hamburger from a gas station chain out of desperaton [“just eat, don’t look”]). And although there’s a lot I need to be doing, I’ve barely moved from the chair in front of the computer all night.

I watched Bones (sort of — I was also trying to figure my way through Facebook). Zack, the young one, is some kind of apprentice to a serial killer? Huh?

I just watched House. Wow! I only half-watched the first half, but by the second half it had my full attention. I cried pretty bad. That was super-sad. And I felt sorry for House.

And now I’m watching CSI Miami. The guy who plays Horatio (who came up with that name anyway?) drives me nuts, as does the character who talks to the dead people and caresses them and calls them “sugar” and stuff. Yuck. She just left the show, and the gal who apparently took her place just got shot. Maybe I’ll get up the energy to get something done during this show, because I hardly ever watch and frankly don’t care too much. But the first two hours were pretty interesting actually!

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Election Maps Monday, May 12 2008 

I always find myself fascinated by all those maps showing which candidate does better where, and those polling experts who say things like, “In northwestern Fayette County in Kansas, where a large textile mill went out of business two years ago, Obama is doing better among white women between the ages of 45 and 50 whose identified favorite pastime is playing checkers.”

Check out this post that shows some really interesting maps from Obama/Clinton voting in this year’s primaries.

Battlestar Update Monday, May 12 2008 

I think it’s three episodes that have gone by since I last wrote anything about BG. The first two of those…I found them virtually boring. How disappointing. I wonder how other fans are feeling. Unfortunately none of my friends are BG fans! (Their loss, I suppose!) Anyway, just about the only good drama (for my taste) was seeing Tyrol (or Tirol, I never remember) going through his grief over Callie’s loss.

This week…it’s so hard to remember what happened! But I found it more entertaining than the last few episodes. Still, the thing that’s being pushed is “who’s the last Cylon” and I’m dreading it! I’m sure it’ll be something else that’ll be beyond the bounds of realism. Ah, but if I understood right, then they’re going to revive the Deanna (D’anna, however it’s spelled, Lucy Lawless’s character) model, and she can recognize the final Cylons. I think Sam looked distinctly uncomfortable about that! And, dumb as I think it is that Sam could be a Cylon in the first place (he was apparently famous, so I don’t see how there could possibly be multiple copies running around…and no one would notice that their neighbor looked exactly like the star whatever-player), this is drama anybody can relate to. Loving someone but knowing there is something about you, or something in your past, that you fear will be a red line for them, the “call-it-quits” line, even though you’re certain that this thing has nothing to do with who you really are (or perhaps a slightly less extreme parallel!). One of the books I’m sorta-kinda working on involves a character who has something in her past she’s afraid will make her unloveable…and of course these things always come out in the end. Good drama!

Bones & Voyager Monday, May 12 2008 

I’m watching Bones…actually sort of watching it off an on while preparing some couscous with chicken, veggies, and fruit that looks darn yummy…but I digress.

I’m watching Bones. And there’s a guy on, some kind of club owner or something, and his voice sounds soooo familiar, I know I know that voice, but he doesn’t look in the slightest familiar. I quickly came to think he was a Star Trek character. I thought of Quark, played by Armin Shimerman, excellent actor. I think I liked Quark better than any other character on DS9. But, no, I recognize him easily from other things like the principal on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then I thought Phlox. And I was thinking he was on Voyager. Then I recalled that he had a recurring role on Stargate: SG-1. And then I remembered, wait, he wasn’t on Voyager, he was on…ummmm…that last one, the one I never really liked and watched only out of loyalty to Star Trek. So, who was the latex & makeup guy on Voyager? Right! Neelix! Neelix who was the chef, and who had a thing with the strange blond gal. It was Neelix! I don’t think I ever saw him out of makeup. I just looked up the actor’s name, it’s Ethan Phillips.

What a stroll down memory lane!

Interview with Narnia Director Wednesday, May 7 2008 

Check out this interview from the director of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and now also the second film, Prince Caspian. Apparently it’s coming out in May, wow! I really don’t remember at all the other Narnia books (though I read them all some 25 years ago or so), so this one will be watched by fresh eyes. The only thing I remember is being disappointed that the other books weren’t about the kids…but apparently they’re all over this one. Looking forward to seeing it!

Major Tom Monday, May 5 2008 

OK, I’m an 80’s gal. So much so that, because I didn’t actually start listening to popular music really until 1985, I sometimes come across a song that I never knew in the 80’s but still absolutely love. (Let’s hear it for Sirius channel 22!) Major Tom is one of those songs. I heard it once or twice, really just the chorus, and just loved it. Finally saw the title and singer on, yep, Sirius 22, and looked it up online. Wow! If you too are an 80’s gal/guy, check out the Wikipedia page on Major Tom — fascinating! I had no idea such things ever happened in pop music. When I found the lyrics I was surprised to find this is actually a sad song! What an odd topic for a pop song in the first place! Too cool.

Here’s the English version (with kind of weird un-serious video…well, those were the times):

And if you’d like to hear the original German, with handy German sing-along lyrics:

Battlestar Cast on Letterman Monday, May 5 2008 

I hardly ever see the late night talk shows anymore, but was perusing “Major Tom” videos (see the next post!) of all things when I came across this. Is it just me or do some of the cast look pained? Do you think they were forced at gunpoint to do this? I got the biggest kick when I realized they were coming out in costume — at they were introduced in character. None of the lines were funny, in fact they seemed to all be saying the show was lame. (???) Maybe they weren’t told the lines in advance? The funniest line (not saying much) was when Underwear Model Gal (okay, that’s probably rude and judgemental…but I can’t remember here name! Oh, now I do, Tricia Hilfer or something similar) comes out in her trademark minimalist candy-apple red Six dress and says, well, you can click and find out. And Lee/Jamie Bamber’s Brit accent comes out! And just how much did they have to pay Lucy Lawless to be there, I wonder?

Olson on Calvinism & Arminianism Saturday, May 3 2008 

I don’t agree with Roger Olson on absolutely everything…but I come close. And man-oh-man, do I appreciate the tone in which he writes. We would all do well to emulate it. This is almost a decade old, but I just came across it today. The title is silly, but the article is a really good read.

Let’s Hear it for the Nazarenes! Saturday, May 3 2008 

OK, I must confess I know next to nothing about the Nazarenes…apparently because I’m not from Kansas and I’m not sure I’ve even driven through there…maybe once on a family vacation, but if so we didn’t get further than a few fast food places and gas stations (sorry, Kansas). Check out the following clips! I’d love to sit down with a Nazarene who could explain all the inside references! I think mostly what I got is they don’t drink, they’re not Calvinist (I think…?), and there’s a whole lot of ’em in Kansas! Entertaining stuff.

One Person’s Definition of the -Isms Saturday, May 3 2008 

…those being Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, Sublapsarian Calvinism, and Supralapsarian Calvinism.

The definitions are intended to simplify complex positions, and in some cases are perhaps pretty accurate, while in others…not so sure. I’ll give my reactions here, and Amy (the invite is for all — literally meaning all though I know all won’t respond…I’m just hoping Amy will 😉 — did you get my Calvinism/Arminianism joke?), I’m so curious to hear what you think! Especially since I’ve never quite gotten the supra/sub thing…why does Calvinism so prefer Latin terminology? These words are too difficult for me! 😉 Everything below should be understood to include the caveat “as best I understand,” to save me from writing it 10 times.

  1. Pelagianism looks pretty accurate to me (though I’m no expert). Pelagianism is generally held to be a heresy by all orthodox Christians, as far as I know…those who’ve heard of it anyway. 😉
  2. Semi-pelagianism — mostly accurate, though I don’t think the semi-Pelagian view is that man (or Matt) does any struggling, as this implies “work” — semi-pelagianism is generally understood to be within Christian orthodoxy, but a works-based salvation would negate that. The distinctive of semi-Pelagianism is that the corruption resulting from the fall does not prevent from being able to choose Christ. I read one article presenting a biblical defense of this position, and I have to say it was a fairly good argument (surprisingly so to me, actually, since this is not my view…ah, well, if we could not put up good biblically defensible views of these positions then this debate among believers would not have lasted all this time, would it?) Anyway, I feel pretty confidant that “God helps those who help themselves” is Pelagian, not semi-Pelagian. It is definitely a man-first, God-second saying. Or really, if we think about how we typically use this phrase, it is a man-only, God as passive witness saying. Yikes, that’s not even Christianity.
  3. Arminianism — Totally missing here is the Reformed (or Orthodox, or Classical, as you like) Arminian concept of prevenient grace. In other words, Matt was unconscious (too corrupted by the fall to seek God on his own), then George brings him back to consciousness — I don’t know how but then “George” is just a dude and not an omnipotent God (prevenient grace offered to all), and then we can continue with the second Arminian analogy. The only difference between #1 and #2 is Matt grabs hold of George while George pulls, or Matt just lets George pull. I’m not sure there’s a big difference, but I guess it depends out whether you mean Matt is straining his muscles in his “grabbing hold of”. No Reformed Arminian would say man strains his muscles in choosing Christ. I like Roger Olson’s analogy of endorsing a check — man doesn’t earn the money for the check, print the check, issue the check, deliver the check, or pay out the check, he merely endorses it. Thus the real, fundamental difference between Orthodox Calvinism (which also requires man’s responsibility to “endorse the check,” and this is not a “work” in either system — it is faith) and Orthodox Arminianism is whether God provides prevenient grace enabling all to choose Him or He has provided effectual grace to a limited number based not on man’s free will choice but on something known only to Him. This is in one sense a very tiny difference and in once sense an enormous difference. I am convinced that Un/Conditional Election is the only real (substantive) difference between the two systems, and that all other differences flow from that one. But back on topic, I think neither definition here is quite right, and I think the first one is actually close to semi-Pelagianism.
  4. Sub-lapsarianism — I don’t think this one is quite right either. The part that I think mischaracterizes Calvinism is the word “if” — “if Matt starts to resist.” My understanding of the Calvinist interpretation of T is that all men will resist if left to their fallen nature, so all men require “the morphine shot.” That is of course the Reformed Arminian position as well, the difference being, again, whether the morphine shot is (a) available to all and of such nature (I don’t say strength because it’s not an issue of the strength of God’s grace — all Orthodox Christians agree God is powerful enough to do anything He chooses to — it’s an issue of the nature or type of grace, cf. God’s “will” — He wills that all are saved but we know that not all are saved) that some will accept its effects, allowing themselves to be pulled out, while others will merely thrash about and resist their rescue OR (b) available unconditionally to a select number, in whom it is of such nature that all who receive it will come to the surface and be rescued, while those who do not receive it never regain consciousness in the first place.
  5. Supra-lapsarianism (you don’t know how hard it is for me to type these strange words!) — I think this one pretty accurately portrays a common Arminian *perception* of Calvinism, but I don’t think any Calvinist would accept it as accurate. It paints God as…well…Munchausen-by-proxy comes to mind, that psychiatric disorder whereby parents deliberately give their children illnesses so they can comfort and save them. There may be Calvinists out there who do view God this way, but I’m pretty sure they’re on some far-flung fringe (just like there are some “Arminians” out there who believe in open theism and so forth — I don’t claim them and I’m sure Orthodox Calvinists wouldn’t claim someone who held this view as presented here). Formal Calvinist theology is very “into” ordering things, and I think this is where the sub/supra thing comes in. Is it really that big of a difference from Sub? I must profess ignorance, though I’m sure this definition is biased in presentation, even if not entirely inaccurate. Can someone (read: Amy) clear it up? I haven’t heard you say much about the sub/supra thing but I’m sure you know more about it than I do. (Hah, but maybe we’ll have talked about it by phone by the time you see this!)

And, BTW, perhaps formal Arminian theology digs ordering things too, and I just haven’t come across it yet. When I start reading all these different ordering lists (I don’t mean sub/supra, but the long ones with 6 or 10 items) my head starts to spin. It reminds of what my former preacher once said about his millennial position — he was promillenial — for it, or pan-millennial — it’ll all pan out in the end. Lest you think this was too glib, he did have views on all this, he was making the point that this isn’t something to obsess over much less argue over — God will take care of it in whatever way He chooses. I kind of feel the same way about the ordering schemes I’ve seen — wow, I’m in Christ — how I got that way, how I stay that way and in what order it all happened…I’ll leave the specifics to God and marvel in his mercy and power. Besides, sometimes I really wonder about the point of what order something divine happens in when the Divine Being is outside of time (in my view — I did actually recently read an argument from an Orthodox Christian that God does not exist outside of time — I can’t agree but it was an interesting read).

My, my, my, there’s nothing like having a blog to be able to ramble to one’s heart’s content. 😉

And lookee! Smiley faces appeared!

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