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Last Visit 2011-03-29 23:58:38 |Start Date 2007-01-26 16:14:24 |Comments 1,125 |Entries 367 |Images 31 |Videos 68 |Theme |

Category: pittsburgh

08/23/08 09:55 - 73ºF - ID#45418

Pittsburghers are everywhere

Notice the Terrible Towel in the background? in Bejing? at the Olympics?


(Picture found at

for more on the towel:

Go Stillers!
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Location: Buffalo, NY

08/19/08 10:12 - 62ºF - ID#45373

10 Things I like about August

1. Vacation.

2. NFL Training Camp.

3. Catching the last of the outdoor concerts.

4. Elmwood Ave. Art fest.

5. The Olympics (this August, at least)

6. Not too hot, not too cool.

7. A lot of monthly meetings that I have don't meet in August.

8. Baseball's playoff race.

9. More time to blog (whoops! First post of the month. Sorry estrip.)

10. All of the good stuff that comes up in the garden (soon, I hope).
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Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: heroes

07/30/08 11:43 - 74ºF - ID#45198

Things you did not know about Mr Rogers

Found via "Decently and Order" a presbyterian user-driven news source.

(I am a Presbynerd)
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Location: Buffalo, NY

07/28/08 06:57 - 79ºF - ID#45175

Darling Paint update

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Location: Buffalo, NY

07/25/08 11:13 - 72ºF - ID#45135

Free movie tonight!

Eight o'clock on the corner of West Ferry and Elmwood. "Lord, Save Us from your followers." The film asks, "why is the Gospel of Love dividing America?"

It's free. Bring a chair.

Thiese are clips from another screening:

and while I was geting that, I came across this (unrelated, but funny):

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Location: Buffalo, NY

07/16/08 09:43 - 76ºF - ID#45045

Awareness test

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Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: religion

07/16/08 05:11 - 82ºF - ID#45038

Spending time in the village

Ok. I promise to get back to my theology posts soon enough, but right now, I want to share my experience from today.

Well, actually, I will start with last night, just to set the stage.

Last night, I went to the concert on Bidwell, and it was a great night. I saw one great person after another, had a beer, enjoyed some great and listened to some fantastic music. Even when I collected cash on behalf of the Elmwood Village Association, all I had to do was walk with the bucket, and people yelled at me to come collect the money. Everybody was eager to give.

Frankly, that's what I love about the neighborhood. Everybody is nice, generous, tolerant, friendly. I love living here, mostly because of the people ((e:strip) people included).

Which brings me to today's experience. I was hanging up fliers for the upcoming film, "Lord, Save Us from Your Followers."

Now, the basic point of this movie is that Christians need to be a lot nicer than we are right now. It asks, "Why is the Gospel of Love dividing America?" and basically admits that it is because Christians have dropped the ball.

For most of the afternoon, people were curious about the flier, but willing to put it up. I never asked any business owner that didn't already have fliers up, and I was, of course, extra nice and friendly.

A few people politely declined, or said, "why don't you give it to me and I will hang it up," which often is a nice way of saying, "I am going to read this over and likely throw it away," but at least it is being said nicely. In these cases, I said thank you, have a good day, and moved on.

One guy, however, before I could even put the flier in his hand, who's shop was COVERED in other promotional materials said, very sternly, "no. The owner told me not to hang that one up." It was almost aggressive, especially since I had been in the stop a few times before, and that same guy was always very cool. We had hung out and talked other times I visited, but this time--stonewall.

So I told him that if the owner had questions about the movie I would be happy to talk to him, and I got a short--"ok." With a "get out of my otherwise empty store, I don't want to speak to you" look.

I got mad at the guy (not saying I should have, just saying I did), but did my best to smile and say thank you and leave.

As I continued my journey down Elmwood, I realized a couple things:

1. Christians have done this exact same thing to other people for years. I've probably given people the exact same look. So turnabout is fair play.

2. Because Christians have behaved badly for a long time (and will continue to do so, in all likelihood,) I will have this experience more and more if I continue to follow Jesus and interact with non-Christians (which I do think I will do--I like both).

3. It does hurt to be rejected, especially out of hand. As a straight, white, middle-class man, it doesn't happen to me as much as some other people. I probably need to experience it more, if only to better relate to those that do.

4. If Christians are ever going to make a difference in the world (and I really do believe that the way of Jesus brings healing to neighborhoods and the world, when it is attempted), we are going to have to develop the discipline to endure things like this over and over and over again. People have been hurt by Christians and they will react to us with anger. The only way to bring about healing is to meet that anger with love--absorbing anger/hate again and again, but not responding likewise.

Maybe I will share more thoughts later. I have to go running now.

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Location: Buffalo, NY

07/15/08 12:31 - 74ºF - ID#45026


Not bad for an amateur, if I do say so myself . . .

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Location: Buffalo, NY

07/15/08 08:44 - 65ºF - ID#45023

It's here!

I am not nearly as savvy/smart/geeky as many of you (e:peeps), but I am geek enough to be excited about the latest version of wordpress (even I feel a little bit like I am cheating on (e:strip)).

Anyway, here's a video about things it can do now:

Theology posts will continue shortly.
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Category: religion

07/13/08 11:14 - 73ºF - ID#45012

The writing of the Bible

- That the story of Jesus was accurately told orally for a hundred years.
- That the hundreds of contradictory written fragments and letters from the time after that don't matter, because:
- The editing process to sort everything out was also guided by God, again, indirectly.
- That the Gospels were then transmitted down with no textual errors in copying or translation thereafter, thanks to God, indirectly.
- That the parts of the Bible and the Gospels that don't make sense don't contradict any of the above.

This post will attempt to deal with all of the above items, taken from (e:jim)'s list of "things one would have to take on faith" to be a Christian.

The story of Jesus was passed down orally for some time before the gospels were written down. However, it seems that at least Matthew Mark and Luke were written before the year 72--so there was maybe 30 years, tops. (For the relationship between Matthew, Mark and Luke, see: (WIKIPEDIA -

I base this on the fact that Luke was written as a two-volume work with the book of Acts--they make this clear in the first chapters of each book, and are consistent in language and themes. Anyway, one event that occurs in Luke is Jesus predicting the destruction of the Temple.

We know from history that this indeed did happen, in the year 72. The book of Acts, which follows the apostles and the early church follows Paul as he heads to Rome, which takes us further down the path of history, but not all the way to the destruction of the Temple.

Oddly enough, many scholars take this as evidence of Luke being written after the destruction of the Temple, due, in part to a bias against "supernatural knowledge" (i.e. "Jesus could not have predicted the future") This is bad logic, in my opinion, on two fronts. One: if Jesus was who he claimed he was, this prediction is certainly possilbe, and two: it wasn't THAT hard a prediction to make, given the political climate at the time. Divine revelation was not necessary to figure out that the Jews would rise up and the Romans would act destroy the Temple in retaliation.

It would have made sense for the author of Acts to include this prediction coming to pass, but he did not. Therefore, I conclude that Luke was likely written before 72. For more, see: (WIKIPEDIA -

(There you will see that my opinion is the minority opinion, but the latest possible date is around 150.

100 years is a long time for something to be passed on orally in todays culture, but things were different in oral cultures.

Anyway, after the oral period of transmission (and Paul's letters are generally dated earlier than the Gospels), the stories were, in fact, written down.

You would have to have a lot of faith to think that there was no error in the recording (by today's standard, at least) because one does not need outside "fragements and letters" to find contradiction (although the small amount of "other" material that talks about Jesus came much later, was discusssed, and dismissed as unreliable). All of the contradictions needed to dismiss a strict literalism is right there in the Bible!

Rather than "get the story straight," those that put together the Bible included all of the differences. There is not one story of Jesus, but four!

What we find is not a historical account, by todays standards, but a collection of a number of different witnesses, and perspectives. This does not make it easy to put together a strict, blow by blow biography, but we do have greater reliability where the different sources agree. The variation in the accounts actually demonstrates them to be more dependable--it shows that there was no collaboration, but different people telling the story the way they best could. Even if four of us had witnessed an event yesterday, it is unlikely that all of us would give the same account.

Do we have to believe that God was involved in the editing process? No more than we would for other historical documents. There are plenty of early manuscripts, as well as early translations and references in other works.

There is no assertion IN the Bible that God specifically guided the editing. No such assertion is needed for the translation, due to the preponderance of early material. While there is some variation, it is small, and in most good academic translations (I like the NRSV), it is noted in the footnotes .

The idea of "innerancy," strangely enough, is an idea that is foreign to the Bible. The Bible itself makes no such claim, and it is not necessary. If we take the texts of scripture (and the others that aren't included) and look at them just as any other historical documents, enough truth will emerge enough to understand who Jesus was, the basic facts of his life, and what he taught. There is also plenty of evidence for his resurrection, which is really the ultimate test, and will have to wait for another post.
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