Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Lily

spring lily, originally uploaded by wenabell.

Wen got a new macro lens and is going to town. Check out her flickr site to see more. Yes, she is my wife, but I think she has talent. Check out the pics she takes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Two More Ways Apple Earns My Loyalty

Way to Earn Loyalty #1:

I took my iPod Touch in to the Apple store this morning because somehow dust had gotten behind the screen and was visible whether the iPod was on or off. Being behind the glass, so to speak, the dust could not be cleaned away. The Genius Bar technician looked at it for about 20 seconds, checked my warranty, which fortunately had 43 days left, and switched me out with a new iPod Touch. Yes, the new iPod matched my previous model exactly (2gen, 16GB), but they extended my warranty to a full 90 days. They didn’t have to, nor did they have to give me a new one.

Way to Earn Loyalty #2:

We have a 17" iMac, purchased in January 2006, that the kids use. It is over 4-years old and way out of warranty. A month or so ago a vertical blue line showed up about three inches from the left side of the screen. I decided to bring the iMac with me to the Apple store to get a diagnosis, figuring that I would then buy the replacement part and fix it myself. The diagnosis was as expected, the LCD screen was faulty. “However,” said the Genius Bar technician, “our engineers want to understand this problem, so we will replace your screen at no cost to you so that we can have the faulty part. If you leave it with us we will replace your screen and you should have your computer back either tomorrow or Monday. Will that work for you?” As they say in Minnesota, “You betcha.”

Granted, I was already a fanboy, but with this kind of service who wouldn't be?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Together they launched a holy war on their era’s scientific materialism...

“These three ‘literary Brits’ [C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Dorothy Sayers] shared more than a lively Christian faith, the writing of imaginative literature, and a strong mutual regard. Together they launched a holy war on their era’s scientific materialism and the spiritual declension that accompanied it. Each lifted up in their writings a rich, world-embracing Christian vision against the grey deadness of secularization. For each, this was a life-and-death battle, with the future of the Western world hanging in the balance. They saw their age’s new creed of hard-nosed scientific pragmatism draining the world of spirit and meaning—indeed, as Lewis put it, threatening to tear out of us our very hearts, abolishing humanity itself.”

Read the whole article by Chris Armstrong, my former history prof at Bethel.

Friday, March 12, 2010

On second thought...

“On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.”

—King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Answering the Why Question

Some days my mind is cloudier than others. It is relatively easy to ask big why questions of God when we see photos of Haiti or Chile. When we are closed up in our suburban, comfy, shells, it is relatively easy not to ask the why questions at all.

Then once in a while, we learn or hear about suffering and evil that is so horrendous, we recoil in physical revulsion. Combine that with a cloudy head, and it is easy for me to fall away from my own knowledge of truth and ask the same why questions.

Trying to understand why my head gets cloudy is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to remember, again, a solid answer to one of the why questions. My pastor’s answers usually clear my foggy head:
Why do little children suffer and die? We ask it with the awareness that it is happening this very moment by the hundreds, and we ask it through tears of personal experience and empathy. Here is one biblical answer: “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12).
When an objection arises that it is “harsh, to bring the whole creation under the judgment of suffering and death, including little children, because of one man's sin.” My pastor’s answer is again helpful:
That is how outrageous sin against an infinitely wise and good and holy God is. We don’t measure the outrage of our suffering by how insignificant we think sin is; we measure the outrage of sin by the scope of suffering. The really amazing thing is that you and I, as sinners, are sitting here talking, when we deserve to be in hell. God is remarkably patient. And he gave his Son to die in our place so that everyone who believes may escape from this judgment and have eternal life.
(HT: Desiring God; Read the whole article.)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Here comes the rain again, I hope.

The weather forecast shows 70% chance for precipitation on Wednesday. Several times during the last week of sunny days, I realized that this Washington boy longs for a few solid days of rain. I can only take so much sunshine.

(Note: Average days of precipitation—including snow—in Minneapolis, MN., 115 days. Average days of precipitation—not including snow—in Portland, OR., 151 days.)