Thursday, August 31, 2006

I've moved to a new blogging platform (goodbye Radio Userland, hello WordPress).

But if you read through an RSS aggregator (this is really important, so pay attention):

If you read directly from the website, everything will work as before at my preferred URL, The new site includes several syndication buttons that make it easy to add Blogos to your Bloglines, MyYahoo!, or other readers.

If you have any problems with this, please send me (sean) an email at semanticbible daht com. I don't want to lose any readers in the transition (there aren't that many to start with!).

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 Friday, March 24, 2006

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"... it is important that we know who Christ is, especialy the chief characteristic that is the root and essence of His character as our Redeemer. There can be but one answer: it is His humility. What is the Incarnation but his heavenly humility, His emptying himself and becoming man? What is His life on earth bu humility; His taking the form of a servant? And what is His atonement but humility? 'He humbled himself and became obedient to death.' And what is His ascension and His glory but humility exalted to the throne and crowned with glory? 'He humbled himself ... therefore God exalted Him to the highest place.' In heaven, where He was one with the Father; in His birth, His life, and His death on earth; in His return to the right hand of the Father -- it is all humility. Christ is the expression of the humility of God embodied in human nature ..." (reflections on Phil.2.5-11from Humility, by Andrew Murray)

Oh, for the humility of Jesus in myself and around me! 

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 Sunday, January 08, 2006

I decided to sign up as an Amazon Associate, and to incorporate referrals into links on Blogos. I had to stop and think a bit about whether this meant a slide down the slippery slope to commercialism, but since i don't intend to clutter my pages with search boxes, banners, etc., it seemed pretty harmless (y'all are welcome to let me know if you think otherwise). I'll put a search box on the Reading category page, but otherwise links will just be links, with no extra intrusions of the A-word. Ok?

Frankly, i don't think i have enough readership to make a big difference. But if you want to help finance my habit, feel free to click through: i think i make 4% on referred purchases. I can almost guarantee that any referral income (which comes in the form of Amazon gift certificates) will be used for more books on Bible study and discipleship, and will be vastly exceeded by what i spend anyway on my own :-)

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 Sunday, January 02, 2005

This is the season when we reflect on the year gone by and think about what we'd like to be different in the year to come. New Year's resolutions have come to mean things we don't take seriously, or don't maintain over time, but there's great value in reviewing and re-purposing, if we follow through. A picture named orderingYourPrivateWorld.jpg

MacDonald's book offer readable encouragement to take the inner life seriously, something i find myself more and more focused on over time. Simply stated, the difference between merely existing and actually accomplishing something or being someone seems to come from a decision, whether conscious or not, to manage yourself. As Christians, this is a practical expression of Paul's statement that "the love of Christ controls us" (2Cor.5.14)

Here are MacDonald's Laws of Unmanaged Time from chapter seven:

  1. Unmanaged time flows toward my weaknesses: without a clear notion of where i'm strong and what my abilities are and aren't, i'll tend to invest my time outside the areas of my best and most important contributions
  2. Unmanaged time comes under the influence of dominant people in my world: my schedule, like nature, abhors a vacuum. If i don't take up my God-given responsibility to manage it, others around me will do so for their own agendas, well-intentioned or not.
  3. Unmanaged time surrenders to the demands of all emergencies: only a clear sense of priorities can help me decide what really needs to be done, as opposed to what is merely the tyranny of the urgent.
  4. Unmanaged time gets invested in things that gain public acclamation: while this may be more of a tendency for public figures like MacDonald, things like email and blogging provide many of us the allure of potential public presence. My sitemeter has a graph that shows how many times my blog page was hit: it's easy to make this a barometer of the significance of what i post.

My resolution: keep working at identifying what God has actually called me to do, and find ways to keep my time focused on it.

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 Tuesday, September 28, 2004
A picture named illustratedJesusThroughTheCenturies-thumb.jpg I went searching for this book because of a reference to it from Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel, and was delighted to find in our local library a later edition, expanded by the inclusion of several hundred works of art. This fascinating book by Jaroslaw Pelikan describes 18 varied perceptions of Jesus through many ages and cultures: the King of Kings, the Monk Who Rules the World, the Son of Man, the Poet of the Spirit, the Liberator, and others. The classic artwork alone is enough to recommend the book, but the exposition is comprehensive and insightful, and provides a wealth of material for reflection on Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matt.16.15)
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 Sunday, April 25, 2004

By way of ongoing, Scripting News, Burning Bird, and others, my contribution to the Fifth Sentence game, from the Contemporary English Version New Testament:

After Jesus had told the people to sit down, he took the seven loaves of bread and fish and gave thanks.

Instructions: Grab the nearest book, open it to page 23, find the 5th sentence, and post its text along with these instructions. Tim Bray's addendum: point back to where you got the idea so that we can follow the threads (see above for mine).

No, i didn't cheat and grab a Bible just to look spiritual: this really was one of several books at arm's length from where i'm typing this (sitting in bed with my laptop). It's Matthew 15.35-36. I suppose i exercised discretion in which one of them i picked (among Seeds of Terror, Renovation of the Heart, the Laws of Software Process, First Things First, and others that i'm not making nearly enough progress against).

A picture named 3_16BibleTexts.jpg This game reminds me of a fascinating book, 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated. The book is remarkable in several ways: it was written by Donald Knuth, far better known for his contributions to computer science than Biblical studies, but defnitely a man of faith. He was crucial in the development of TeX and MetaFont, high-quality programs for typesetting which, though less popular in today's WYSIWYG environment, are practically fanatical in their devotion to the beauty of printed language.

The organization is also quite different. Knuth goes through each book of the Bible and examines the third chapter, sixteenth verse: Genesis 3:16, Exodus 3:16, etc. For each text, there is some commentary on the meaning of the text additionally, calligraphers prepared beautiful representations of the text itself. He has some interesting commentary on the mathematical properties of this kind of non-random selection algorithm, so there's something for geek, artist, and Bible student alike. Highly recommended.

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 Monday, April 05, 2004

A picture named RenovationOfTheHeart-thumb.jpgI visited a church this morning, and the pastor shared one quote from this book by best-selling author Dallas Willard that was enough to get me to go home, take it off the shelf, and start reading:

"Ultimately, our circumstances are never as important as how we respond to them"

Donna and i have been thinking for some time about character issues, and how to help people change from the inside out. Barna's surveys seem to keep proving that there isn't a lot of difference between most Christians and their neighbors: i think a major reason is that we don't see growth in character as a normative part of Christian experience, but rather an "extra" for really spiritual people. But it's clear that people don't significantly change the way they act unless change happens on the inside.

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