A Sidekick's Blog

Social Media and Mental Health

July 18, 2017
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So I got on Diaspora and dumped Facebook (and Google) because of all the paranoid geeky stuff about them manipulating news and spying on people and using all your stuff to take over the world.

I ran away from systemd on Linux because of all the paranoid geeky stuff I read on Diaspora about how Red Hat and Microsoft (and the NSA, FBI, Illuminati, and who knows, some alien race from the Eighth Dimension) are using systemd on Linux to take over the world and enslave Linux users.

As it turns out, in spite of Monstanto, GMOs, vaccines, the Left, the Right, Microsoft, Google, the Borg, Canonical, Red Hat, and systemd, my computer and my privacy are as safe as anyone who ever connects to the Internet on any device or platform can expect to be.

Who is manipulating who here? Who is really thriving on the fears of others here?

People told us to stop flying the American flag and stop showing our support for the military and first responders or else we could be targeted for violence, blacklisting, discrimination, etc. Did I take down my flag? Hell no. Let them come. I’ll gut them if they bring their threats beyond my front door.

And guess what else? I’ve got a systemd-equipped Linux distro running because it works better on my machine than the two systemd-free distros I tried. And y’know what else? I rejoined Facebook today. I’m using it with my eyes open and sensible precautions in place. I’ll keep my Diaspora but I’m making big changes there. All that paranoia and conspiracy stuff is not good for people who have ever been diagnosed with depression, whatever the cause.

All I can say now is,

I didn’t take my flag down. And I’m not avoiding systemd, Facebook, Google, or any other tool that serves me.

I’ll use the Internet wisely, my systemd-equipped Linux distro wisely, and Facebook wisely. Just like I do with my car, my firearms, my power tools, and anything else that requires a little thought and caution. I’m not throwing away all the perfectly good tools that make modern life so nice and so rich.

I’m through running away from phantoms. If and when the time comes to fight, against whoever the bad guys are, I’ll fight and die like a Klingon in glorious battle. In the meantime time, all you anti-vaccine, anti-Google, and anti-everything-that-isn’t-home-grown-or-home-made people can kiss my grits.

Hey, I just had a thought…. maybe my medicine is working now after all!


Issues With WordPress

July 17, 2017
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For almost four days now, I can’t access the WordPress.com web site at all. I post via e-mail, so that’s why this post is making it to the blog. But I can no longer moderate replies, read the blogs I follow (unless I get them emailed to me), or manage my sites at all.

I tried downloading the WordPress desktop app, but it’s 64-bit only so I can’t use it on my old 32-bit desktop. The fancy hand-me-down 64-bit ‘puter had a hard drive failure so I resurrected an ancient Dell Dimension and got it running wonderfully with Linux Lite! But WordPress.com won’t load in any browser from here for some reason.

If your comment is awaiting moderation, or if I fail to respond to a question, rest assured it’s temporary… unless WordPress remains unreachable/unloadable, in which case I may be moving the whole kit and kabootle to another site.

Please pardon the inconvenience, and hope that it’s temporary!


Frenetic Friday

July 15, 2017
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The “culture war” is still as intense as ever, even without a Democrat in the White House to promote this insanity. From the Church of England to popular literature for kids, it goes on… and you wonder why I’m Amillennial? 😀 Anyway, my friend “Keachfan” describes a couple of the current battles in this war.

keachfan

Here it is again Friday are you feeling frenetic? I myself am feeling that way and so let’s get started.

Well the Church of England is slowly but surely slipping loose from whatever moorings it had that attached it to scripture. The Church of England has announced that it will create special liturgical services for transgendered people. Now please let us take a moment and think what this means, they are creating a special worship service for people who think they are a different gender than what is their biological sex. A worship service. Let me say that again, a worship service. A worship service to welcome their transition. Now of course this wasn’t a unanimous vote there were those that opposed this but they were overwhelmed by those that have gone with the world. Read the full story here

And sticking to this subject seems that according to Zinnia…

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Great Quote to Accompany Amos

July 2, 2017
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You know the little Old Testament book, Amos, right? It’s a favorite of mine. Today in our church bulletin a great quote was printed to accompany our lesson from Amos 5:18-27:

Why do people at church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a package tour of the absolute? Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a new batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning.

It is madness to wear ladies’ straw and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw is out to where we can never return.

-Annie Dillard


Why Reformed Baptist Churches Should Get Out of the SBC

July 2, 2017
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https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/331011991

*Editor’s note: This post first appeared at Barbwire and is being reposted here with permission. The US military is unequivocally constructing and implementing change. Same-sex marriages and policies on gender identity (confusion) is a recurrent trajectory for the Department of Defense (DOD) that will certainly cause contemporary challenges to Christians in the Armed Forces. While…

via Southern Baptist Military Chaplain Conducts ‘Transgender Policy Briefing’ — Endorser Does Nothing! (Audio) — Pulpit

I have had my own battles with “identity,” partly because of abuse as a child by a parent and sibling, so I really do appreciate the struggle and turmoil and I’m not without compassion and understanding for SGA / gay / trans / etc.

But Reformed and conservative churches within the Southern baptist Convention need to reconsider remaining in a denomination which has all but forsaken her Reformation heritage and embraced ideas which are opposed to the clear teaching of Scripture.  There are little pockets of good Reformed and conservative churches and teachers in the SBC, but continued membership in the denomination is tacit approval for incredibly stupid stuff that SBC committees and agencies do.  This is just one example.  Consider the publishing house’ peddling of damnable heresies like Modalism (in this year’s VBS curriculum) and “prosperity gospel” bullshit (sorry, no better choice of words in English for it).

 


Robin’s Ramblings

June 25, 2017
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Just some random ramblings today. On church, on work, on social media, on

I was always taught that on Sunday when you go to church, you leave all the stuff that’s bothering you or weighing on you at the door, and enter just to worship God and at least for awhile, forget about everything else. Oh, and for goodnessakes, wear a tie! This is, after all, God’s house.

Well, I have changed my mind about that. If I can’t bring all that stuff with me into God’s house and lay it at His feet – just as I am, suit and tie or shorts and flip-flops – then church is missing the point, not me.

My worship to God is seven days a week, not one. My worship occupies me all day long, even at work, at school, doing laundry, mowing the lawn. The “worldly” stuff that weighs on me during the week belongs to God anyway, and my so-called “secular life” is not a separate thing, apart from my “church life.” I’m not at God’s house to put my best foot forward and protect the other churchgoers by hiding all the stuff in my life that isn’t “spiritual.”

It is God who qualifies us to stand in His presence and make our offerings of worship in singing, in giving, in communing with His other children, and in listening to His word. Wearing a suit sort of suggests the other thing, the old way. The popular song that goes, “So forget about yourself, concentrate on Him and worrrrrship Himmmmm…” is just bogus. Sorry. Church is not an escape from worldly concerns, but a way of equipping ourselves and each other to deal with all that “secular” stuff that occupies most of our time the other 6 days of the week! So leave the suit and tie at home and bring the whole messy ball of stuff to God’s house. TV sermons are no substitute for meeting with real people, forming real relationships, and discipling one another to Christ.

We want to transform the people and culture of our city through the power of the gospel. The culture has been racing in the opposite direction, far from God’s design and far from His purpose. In just the last few years, right before our eyes, stuff is just being turned upside down, opposite, inside-out, and backwards. The media push these changes as though doing so is a matter of great urgency, as though traditional are brutal and responsible for all the hatred and violence in the world. The “new normal” should be anti-male, anti-God, and politically correct.

I suspect most people don’t agree, but don’t wish to risk being labelled “hater,” “bigot,” “homophobe,” “holier-than-thou,” etc. So they don’t speak up for sanity, but just either go with the flow or isolate themselves from all the turmoil – or worse, use our churches as “safe spaces” where they can retreat and sing hymns and use church busy work the same way that snowflakes use crayons and Play Dough in their “safe spaces.”

This is closest I have seen to any kind of backlash against the Left-driven cultural madness. Except of course, among little sheltered communities of fundamentalists, evangelicals, and “church people” who want to turn their churches into safe spaces for Christians instead of lighthouses for those facing shipwreck.

Pft. I wore shorts to church today. For the first time ever. It won’t be the last time.

On to completely different stuff now:

While this isn’t my “tech blog” (that’s here if you’re interested), my philosophy about technology has also been changing quite a bit. I dumped Facebook and Google because of privacy issues and the simple fact that I’m not a commodity to be mined and processed, and all my likes, photos, comments, and opinions sold to advertisers. And don’t gimme that “If you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t be concerned about privacy” crap. It has nothing to do with having anything to hide! Lemme ask you this: Why do they have doors on bathroom stalls? It’s not as if everyone doesn’t know what you’re doing in there, so why hide it behind a door? Because DIGNITY, dude. Simple human dignity. That’s what I mean by privacy on line. Hopefully that is sufficient explanation.

Anyway, even the most popular Linux distros are becoming less and less respectful of their users’ privacy. A many-tentacled monster called “systemd” has been adapted by all the most popular Linux distros, and one very popular desktop environment (called Gnome) has become dependent upon it. It “supervises” and keeps a record of every process on the computer! Convenience is supposed to be the reason, but I don’t see any improvement in convenience for the Linux desktop user. But again, in the interest of privacy, I ran like a scalded dog from systemd to a new Linux distro that has been around for years and remains unencumbered by the many-tentacled monster.

More on the tech blog of course. But I guess I’m just not one to easily surrender my rights, my privacy, or my dignity. And not one to retreat to a “safe space,” whether in college or at church, or online.

Keep that computer
running perfectly with
PCLinuxOS!

Confessions of a
Technophobe


Theology Thursday: Five Myths about the Ancient Heresy of Gnosticism

June 23, 2017
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Gnosticism was kinda like the mysticism of the modern-day Charismatic movement, always seeking greater and “deeper” experiences “in the Spirit.” Surely a doctrine of demons!

keachfan

Written by Michael J. Kruger on December 20, 2016

In the world of biblical studies, at least among some critical scholars, Gnosticism has been the darling for sometime now. Especially since the discovery of the so-called “Gnostic Gospels” at Nag Hammadi in 1945, scholars have sung the praises of this alternative version of Christianity.

Gnosticism was a heretical version of Christianity that burst on the scene primarily in the second century and gave the orthodox Christians a run for their money. And it seems that some scholars look back and wish that the Gnostics had prevailed.

After all, it is argued, traditional Christianity was narrow, dogmatic, intolerant, elitist, and mean-spirited, whereas Gnosticism was open-minded, all-welcoming, tolerant and loving. Given this choice, which would you choose?

While this narrative about free-spirited Gnosticism being sorely oppressed by those mean and uptight orthodox Christians might sound rhetorically compelling, it simply isn’t borne out…

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Finally

June 5, 2017
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Last night my lovely bride and I finally joined a church we can both agree on, and the adventure begins anew towards mutual growth on common ground.


DNC Affiliates Increase Involvement In Seth Rich Case After Wheeler Claims 

May 27, 2017
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Source: DNC Affiliates Increase Involvement In Seth Rich Case After Wheeler Claims 


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Presbyterian Again

May 24, 2017
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I guess it was about 2 years ago that I left a Presbyterian Church in America – henceforth PCA church for a Reformed Baptist church that was truly Reformed, not a mixture of Eastern Orthodox liturgy with popular evangelicalism and secret flirtations among the staff with the writings of N.T. Wright. I explained in a blog post why I became a Baptist. Now, I find myself back in a PCA church – and with the blessing of the Elders at my former Baptist church! Not due to doctrinal differences (which do still matter), but because my bride and I need to be of the same mind and under the same spiritual headship. We had been getting some marriage counseling. Everyone should! It’s very helpful to avoid self-deception and making me aware of way I was hurting my family without even knowing it. At a certain point, because church is central and vital to making the best of a Christian marriage, and because my wife wouldn’t join my church (why is not relevant to this post), I asked the Elders about looking elsewhere, even though I had a vital role in worship there. It is with their blessing that my wife and I – together – are joining with a PCA church here in town. None of the fancy Orthodox-inspired liturgy, no flirtations with damnable heresies, and the Lord’s Supper every week (I have always wished for that)! A chance at real friendships is part of the reason God is moving us there too, I think. It just wasn’t possible without both of us being committed to the same church.

In the post linked above, I cited three differences between Reformed Baptists and their Presbyterian brethren. In my situation now I’m having to give them a second look, especially since we’re joining this new church and expect to be more than just “regular attenders.”

Hermeneutics:

“Baptists don’t deuce,” my former pastor told me in explaining the difference. But to reach some of the conclusions they have reached, they had to have deduced them “by necessary consequence” even though not contained, per se, in the Scriptures. Baptism, for example, which they define as immersion only, forbidding any other mode. In Scripture there are multiple baptisms, and not all of them by immersion. “The Greek word baptizo means ‘to immerse,'” they say, yet I can’t find independent proof of that claim from anyone but Baptist scholars who simply assert it as fact. Applying the sacrament only to believers is also deduced, since creating a type-and-shadow relationship between physical birth and spiritual birth (regeneration) also requires deduction beyond what is strictly contained in the Scriptures. The Scriptures themselves draw a parallel between Old Testament circumcision and New Testament covenant baptism. One of my favorite little Baptist deductions is drawn from 1 Peter 3:18-21, in which Baptists must deduce that “baptism now saves you” means “only believers should be baptized.” Two Old Testament events are compared to baptism (besides covenant baptism): Noah’s flood (in the 1 Peter 3 passage), and the flight from Egypt (1st Corinthians 10:1-4). In both of those events, I say with a wry but sincerely friendly smile, the people of God were sprinkled, and it was the enemies of God who were immersed! Oops…

Covenant:

The covenants of God with Adam, with Moses, with David – are eternal, even though ancient Israel as it was in Moses’ time and David’s time is long gone. Baptists separate them, reasonably so, into Old (type and shadow) and New (reality prefigured by type and shadow). But Christ fulfilled the Covenants rather than doing away with them. There remains one everlasting Covenant of Grace, which existed even before Creation itself, as the Three Persons of the Godhead covenanted together to redeem a people for God from the fallen race of Adam. Type and shadow are certainly demonstrable from the Scriptures, but they do not represent separate covenants, nor separate people.

The Regulative Principle of Worship

Since the baptism of the children of believers is not expressly and explicitly commanded in the New Testament, Baptists are wise to refer to the Regulative Principle as their main argument for not practicing covenant (“infant”) baptism. We are, however, expressly and explicitly commanded not to neglect the traditions of the Apostles (2 Thes 3:6, 25). The validity of custom is asserted “for those who wish to be contentious,” in 1st Cor. 11:16. So I’m not sure the RP truly applies when it comes to baptism.

A lot of Baptist ways of thinking and applying the Word will remain with me as long as I live, and I’m grateful for it!

But – omygosh, my friends – I’m a Presbyterian. Again.


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