Randy's Ramblings

Saturday, February 22, 2003

CNN.com - Swiss crack e-mail encryption code - Feb. 21, 2003
Professor Serge Vaudenay of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne found a way to unlock a message encrypted using Secure Socket Layer protocol technology, according to a posting on the research institute's Web site.

CNN.com - Colombian rebels claim to hold Americans - Feb. 22, 2003
"We can only guarantee the life and physical integrity of the three official gringos in our power if the Colombian military immediately suspends military operations and overflights in the area," said the communiqué, which was datelined "The mountains of Colombia, February 21."

ABCNEWS.com : Workers Fight for Their Toilet Rights
"It's incredible to think that in the 21st century workers are still being penalized for going to the loo," TUC spokesman Brendan Barber said in a statement.

Friday, February 21, 2003

ABCNEWS.com : Death Toll Rises to 96 in R.I. Club Fire
Great White was rocking through its first song, "Desert Moon," and the fans were cheering as fireworks sprayed the stage with sparks. They kept cheering even as flames shot toward the ceiling. Within three minutes, many of them were dead.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

USATODAY.com - NBC plans 'Who Wants to Marry My Mom?'
Another reality show aimed at milking romance for ratings asks the question, Who Wants to Marry My Mom?

Need I say more?

The Moral Slide of American Media
If you go back and watch TV shows that were popular in the 50s and 60s, they are boring - even silly at times. Today's teens wonder how anyone could have been entertained by Opie, The Fonz and The Beav. The truth is, media in America has been on a steady slide for quite some time. Now I'm not an expert and I haven't conducted scientific studies on the effects of media, but I believe that you have to be a complete idiot to believe that the moral slide in American media and the moral slide in American society are completely unrelated.

At one point - from 1997-2001, I went just about four years without watching any significant amount of television. I didn't have cable, I was too lazy to hook up an antenna and the internet served as my access to news and current events. I actually didn't miss the TV much at all. Surprisingly, when I finally got around to hooking up an antenna and could finally receive one channel clearly, I was disgusted at what I saw. TV in 2001 was significantly different than even 1997. Now we are in the middle of Reality TV and all that it brings to the table. It this stuff garbage or is it just me? The whole idea of watching some bachelor play tonsil-hockey with 25 different women over the course of a few months to decide who he wants to marry is just insane to me. Have we really sunk this low as a culture?

I wonder if it's not so much that we've sunk to a new low culturally as it is that we are starved for relationships. We want to love and be loved and we aren't getting that relational component in our dog-eat-dog world. Relationships in the workplace hinder productivity, marriage holds little or no true significance to 51% of the population and friends sue friends on court TV shows when they see an opportunity to make a buck. So rather than turning to our family and friends for relationships, we turn on our TV and watch someone else's messed up life.

Maybe I'm an idealist, or maybe I'm just getting old, but I think I'll turn off the TV and go spend some time with my wife and daughter.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

The Facade of Morality
When you get right down to it, the majority of Christians act like Christians because it feels good and is acceptable in their culture... What I mean by that is, we begin to equate Christ-like discipleship with right living and right judgment. This is a gross misrepresentation of what it means to follow Jesus.

Some interesting thoughts here on 'cultural morality.' Gets me thinking about what I am teaching the students in the youth ministry under my care...

What is Excellence?
"As a congregation, we value excellence in all that we do." What exactly does that mean? I guess it depends a lot on how you define excellence. Is excellence doing your best? Or is excellence the same as perfection? There is a difference there.. however subtle.
I think that, as churches, we need to value excellence - but not promote perfectionism. We need to put a high value on taking the gifts and talents that God has given us and doing an excellent job, whatever we are doing. Putting forth a half-baked effort because - 'I mean, really, it's just church' - is NOT an option. Neither is excluding people from ministry because we have some perfect, pie-in-the-sky idea of how something is supposed to work. We need to find the balance here called 'excellence.'
You may think that I'm splitting hairs here, playing word games to make a point. I do not believe that this is splitting hairs at all - I think that the area called excellence is broad. What we need to avoid are the two extremes found on either side of excellence. The one extreme of 'perfectionism' that burns out the highly-talented and completely excludes the moderately-talented and the other extreme of 'anything-will-do-as-long-as-its-for-the-Lord' which rewards poor performance as long as it's tied to a 'willing heart.'

I value excellence. I want the things I do to be well done. I don't want to just do enough to get by. I also don't want to spend hours fine-tuning every detail until it is absolutely perfect. Neither extreme is a wise use of my time and talents. Doing the very best with the gifts and talents God has given me is.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Random Thoughts from a tired camper...
Forgive and you wil be forgiven...
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength...
Love your neighbor as you love yourself...
If you confess your sins, He WILL forgive you...
Building a relationship takes time and effort...
Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

What a weekend!!!
Unbelievable... that is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of what I just experienced this past weekend. I spent the weekend at Spring Hill Camp with 21 Sr. High students and 7 adult volunteers from our church along with about 800 others for a weekend of worship, cold weather, broomball, tubing, snowboarding, paintball and getting right with God. Two of the students that we brought committed their lives to Jesus Christ for the first time!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?! It is so amazing to watch God at work in students' hearts!!
I am tired. My eyes hurt because they just want to close. My body doesn't want to move. I wouldn't trade this feeling for the world!

Monday, February 03, 2003

DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, MTV UNPLUGGED V2.0
Group singing only happens a few places in our culture—the National anthem, in church and around a campfire. So what’s the deal with Dashboard Confessional?

Sounds like these guys put on a great live show! I love what I've heard so far, now I guess I have to see them in concert...