Saturday, September 30, 2006

Stephen the Categorizer

My son's vocabulary grows by the day. Don't you wish learning new words was still that much fun? He also tries hard to put new things in known categories. For example, this evening Kristy was reading There's a Wocket in My Pocket to him, and he was trying to classify the Dr. Seuss fantastical animals into things he knew (like "duck" and "dinosaur"). He was quite convinced he was right, too!

In case you're interested, my personal favorite is the nooth grush (on my toothbrush).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Summer Reading (& Shameless Contest Entry)

Well, over at Brandywine Books there is a contest to win three books by Lars Walker. Basically, you have to blog on what you read over the summer. I've been wanting to read his books myself, so here's my entry. I'll just focus on a few of the more interesting books.

Redwall, Brian Jacques - I've heard of this series but had never read any of it. It's a fun book (as are the next two), with clear good guys and bad guys in a struggle for control of Redwall Abbey. One thing that stood out to me was the strong contrast between the harmonious community within the abbey and the bullying and fearful band of raiders that threaten them. Also, a surprising amount of death is there for a "kids" book.

The Chosen, Chaim Potok
- This was a very eye-opening book. If accurate (and I have no way of judging that), it was a look into a culture that I have basically no knowledge of or contact with. It may be slow in parts, but the story sucked me in quickly and kept me reading.

The Bible and the Future, Anthony Hoekema - This book has been very beneficial to me in preparing for my Sunday School class on Eschatology. One thing that impressed me the most was his attempt to stick VERY close to what the Biblical texts say about eschatological events. (I'm sure it helped that I'm amil.) Of particular help was his section on the Kingdom of God. I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Responsible Technology - Chapter 1(a)

As you may have noticed, many things in my life take precedence over blogging.

In Chapter 1 of Responsible Technology, the authors point out that technology is so omnipresent in our society that it often goes unnoticed & unquestioned. I work on a university campus, and it amazes me how many students walk around using cellphones and music players.

Bold Claim: To paraphrase the authors, the beliefs that infuse technology, processes that mark it, and outputs from it are not inevitable, neutral, or necessarily benign. Consider Colossians 3:17 - whether we design or use technology, we are called to do it for God and His glory.

Here's a personal anecdote to illustrate. When my wife and I got married, we started our marriage together in a nice little apartment. Within about 2 weeks of moving in, a salesman from the local cable company came by and asked if we would like to sign up for one of their packages. He was surprised when I declined and asked "why not?" I told him that we were newly married and felt the need to spend time interacting and building our relationship. We planned to read books out loud to each other for entertainment and didn't want TV to get in the way of that. While he looked at me like I was from Jupiter, he didn't press the issue further. In this instance, my wife and I chose older technology (books) over newer - and I believe our marriage has been better for it. We did not inevitably need cable, nor did I think it would have a neutral impact on our new marriage.

There is much more to Chapter 1, so stay tuned!

(Post script: a few years ago, I broke down and bought an antenna.)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Lord of Technology

I've been thinking about technology over the past several months (more like year) in terms of how the Christian faith impacts and interacts with it. Two articles in the PCA's magazine caught my eye: Technology and Worship and Technology and the Church. I especially recommend the second, and perhaps I will write some thoughts on it in the future.

At present though, I've throught about this as a Christian engineer. Is engineering independent of my faith? I mean, concrete crushes under a certain amount of pressure, whether you're a Christian or athiest. Looking at my work, is Work Action Analysis a morally neutral systems modeling tool?

My rudimentary thoughts on this have been profoundly impacted by one book I read a while back:

Responsible Technology, edited by Stephen Monsma (Yes, I'm an Amazon Associate)

I'll (hopefully) be writing about the first few chapters of this book and how it has shaped my thinking. Honestly, this book has changed my thinking more than any other I have read in several years. It is written by six authors and edited by one of them. They examine the issue from a Reformed perspective, and are very influenced by the thinking of Abraham Kuyper (of whom I am relatively ignorant).

First, a few notes from the preface. The authors claim that while technology is a crucial part of our lives, Christians pay little attention to it. For my part, I think we Christians look at it either as a neutral tool or in terms of the bad things it can bring into our lives (bad movies, the Internet, etc.). The authors' also claim that "doing technology" is not a neutral activity - rather it involves assigning values to different aspects of technology and is therefore moral. My conclusion is that engineering is therefore an essentially moral activity. Having finished the book, I agree with their claim. The authors also claim
"that technology, as one form of human cultural activity, must be done under the Lordship of Jesus Christ" (p. ix)

That is a bold claim, and I believe they back it up in the rest of the book. Come back in a few days and hopefully I will post more.

Father and Son

Yesterday I was thinking about how much I enjoy being a dad. I then realized I was thinking about this while changing a poopy diaper. Stephen is amazing. He grows so fast and is a sponge for new words and concepts.

He likes to imitate some of the things I do.

And enjoys reading

So here's to being a dad - the pay isn't good but it's more fun than you can stand.