Saturday, September 30, 2006

The insignificant

The truth is that life is chock full of the insignificant, the little things that nobody notices and even fewer actually care about. And yet, somehow, they're the things that tip the scales of life in one direction or another. We may forget most of these things, but it's often the things we don't remember that scar us, for better or worse. If you don't believe me, ask your friends how much they remember of the first year of their life.
-Jason Frank Ewert

Friday, September 29, 2006

Whatcom milk under seige

Grace Harbor Farms here in Custer, Washington, came into the spotlight today when some of the unpasteurized milk they bottled on September 12 gave two children E.coli infections. As seen in The Seattle Times article:
All of the milk had been pulled from store shelves Thursday, but officials warned consumers to discard any Grace Harbor Farms milk that they still have. DNA analysis showed that E. coli from both of the sickened children were the same strain, said Kathryn Smith, an epidemiologist for the state Department of Health.
Grace Harbor Farms is a local Christian family farm and a source for both goat milk products and the cow milk that is under scrutiny. Their Web site just updated an hour or so ago with more information on the current state testing and recall.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

blogging tip #49 (if there was such a list somewhere)

(and the long answer to a question I've been getting)

Putting a personal email link on a blog is not safe if you want to avoid mass loads of spam. However to minimize the risk, editing the email link so that only an actual person trying to use it will be able to see what it is supposed to be, (such as my link), helps circumvent programs that troll the web for email links to spam.

If you are annoyed when someone has a link for "myname at domain dot com," or as in my case, "reimerm3[at]cc[dot]wwu[dot[edu]," just remember that he's trying to be smarter than the machines.

Monday, September 25, 2006

New skin - [Updated]

UPDATE: The commenting is up at running (see comment)...leave feedback at your conveniance!

Looking through the sweat in my eyes, I see a blog skin that I am actually nominally happy with. And as the blood rolls off my hands and onto the keyboard, I am reminded that, although I have put myself through the punishing ordeal of creating this template from what amounts to scratch, the comments pages are for some reason non-existent.

I will continue to work on the comments--I really hope it won't take too long. At least I know the past comments still exist because of the link that says the number on each post.

If you would like to leave feedback on this skin (unfinished as it is), please email me. I'd love to have the feedback. Thanks to those who have already shared--some tips of which I'm still working to implement.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

OCS anyone?

A CAP buddy of had some photos of his OCS (Army Officer Candidate School) time. It was pretty muddy the last time I did something like this, but not quite like that.

Good times. You go Roy!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Lord's supper continued

Thank you Ruth, Robert, Crystal, Nathan, Beka, Emily, Gloria and Lance(?), for being patient. This will be long I'm afraid—and still not cover all the bases.

Nathan is right: God, who knows our weaknesses and needs, blessed us with tangible signs to seal his promises. To lose sight of those means of grace, even for a little bit, makes us prone to lose the present awareness of his promises to cleanse us completely from our sin.

I wrote yesterday with a visceral impulse on an issue I have refrained from publishing on here because it is not right to create dissention in the church. My rhetorical question was probably a little too obvious though. Matters such as these are supposed to be supervised by those who are ordained to that end (the elders). I do not intend in any way to rebel in the near future over this kind of an issue (in case you were wondering).

However, that doesn't at all limit my depth of feeling on the issue and also what I see as something that has deeply hurt Reformed people in general. The frequency of administration is just a part of it but it is also so easy to misunderstand the purpose and nature, and indeed the interconnectedness of the sacrament with the whole of the gospel.

One thing needs to be made clear--this isn't an issue of "they do it that way and we do it this way." I would rather just point out that this is an issue where the detailed directions are properly derived from scripture, if not specifically, than simply in the spirit of Christ's and the Apostle's teachings.

Ever since the reformation, there have been differences on the issue of frequency. I found one very enlightening article that traces the different practices from then till now. It is Published by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and falls in line against infrequent use--it makes some interesting connections that I were new to me, for example, the roots of the revivalist movement in America was centered around a ritualistic infrequent approach to the Lord's Supper. It is written somewhat aggressively but still worth the read!

I also found some very helpful reading from John Calvin himself who believed that the sacraments are “a form of the word of God given uniquely to the worshiping community," and therefore should be used as frequently as possible because "the more infirmity presses, the more necessary is it frequently to have recourse to what may and will serve to confirm our faith, and advance us in purity of life..."

In his "Short Treatise on the Lord's Supper," he takes a running pattern through many different errors, misunderstandings and misuses from his day. Most of it is just as fresh today as it was then so I encourage you to at least browse through it.

On our need for the supper:
Seeing, then, it is a remedy which God has given us to help our weakness, to strengthen our faith, increase our charity, and advance us in all holiness of life, the use becomes the more necessary the more we feel pressed by the disease; so far ought that to be from making us abstain. For if we allege as an excuse for not coming to the Supper, that we are still weak in faith or integrity of life, it is as if a man were to excuse himself from taking medicine because he was sick. See then how the weakness of faith which we feel in our heart, and the imperfections which are in our life, should admonish us to come to the Supper, as a special remedy to correct them. Only let us not come devoid of faith and repentance. The former is hidden in, the heart, and therefore conscience must be its witness before God. The latter is manifested by works, and must therefore be apparent in our life.
He says this among other things to those who abstain because of their claim of unworthiness:
...he who would exempt himself from receiving the Supper on account of unworthiness, must hold himself unfit to pray to one ought long to rest satisfied with abstaining on the ground of unworthiness, seeing that in so doing he deprives himself of the communion of the Church, in which all our wellbeing consists. Let him rather contend against all the impediments which the devil throws in his way, and not be excluded from so great a benefit, and from all the graces consequent thereupon.

Going back to frequency: Frankly, it is sort of a can of worms. What about our preparatory week (which I sometimes worry is interpreted as a time for "making ourselves good enough to come")? Liturgical alterations are no small matter in Reformed circles. It's easy enough to criticize the current method, but it is certainly another to decide what is the proper way of effecting change if change is decided upon.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

What would you say?

Wouldn't it be strange if someone said that you must not repent too often, must not pray too often, must not sing psalms too often, must not read the Word of God or indeed hear it preached too often, must not trust in Jesus Christ too often--all because you might end up taking Him too lightly as a result.

What if someone said you should only do any of these things...say, 4 times a year?

Better stop there.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Spouting poetry

Like writing poetry? Good...

As for myself, Emily just got me to attempt some for the first time--and you might enjoy attempting some of your own for her little contest (be sure to follow the rules--that's what they told me :S )

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Starbucks in dutchville!

I write this from the only comparable coffee shop in Lynden--the one that has had a rare virtual micro-monopoly on the north county coffee sales since 2002. It looks though like The Woods Coffee is about to feel the sting of the free market finally. Starbucks is planning a store right across the street, next to Rite Aid!

I've heard a number of rumors in the past--that Starbucks had been kept out of Lynden deliberately--something I just can't believe. I am surprised though, that it took so long for Starbies to get here. What took them so long?

In other news, Woods is close to opening yet another location in the new building at the Fairway vague plans (that I've been hearing about for too long) for future expansion in Bellingham.

Let the coffee wars begin!!!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lady in the Water - part 2

I finally got around to seeing the WORLD review of Lady and was impressed by three specific aspects...two of which might be related--and they are as follows

First there's the fact that the writer enjoyed the movie and was positive, and second, that he didn't mention the now famous director at all--almost as if he wasn't familiar with any of Shyamalan's other work. I was at first shocked at the lack of mention (I dare you to find other more mainstream reviewers do the same) and the then happy as a lark because I finally found an insightful review that didn't try to contextualize it next to his previous works as if they needed to be linked somehow--as if directors of rare, anomalous movies need always repeat the past in some small way or die trying.

The review, by Harrison Scott Key,
called attention to one particular point that I think was alluded to on Jesse's blog--regarding the unorthodox character reactions to oddball events in the movie:
Whenever something completely weird happens in a realistic movie—like an alien lands or a ghost shows up at dinner—the audience generally needs one of two things. We either want a scientific explanation, or we want the hero to freak out and make us feel normal. So it's no surprise that an ashen young lady named Story (Bryce Dallas Howard) lives under the pool drain. The surprise comes when Cleveland Heep rescues her from an awesome beast, finds out she's a kind of sea nymph called a narf, and doesn't seem to think he's going nuts. What's going on here? This is Philadelphia, not Middle Earth.
Later he concisely argues for why this movie should work well for most:
Despite the fantastical nature of the work, our hero, Cleveland Heep, is about as round and real as they come. He is a flawed man who hurts, and he experiences a powerfully human moment of redemption and healing in the end. That's why you have to give yourself to the film. It takes faith to let art work on you. But if you let it, you'll be glad, in the end.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

No pictures here

Sorry, my time was spent behind a video camera for the trip--my blog suffers as a result. I'm turning over a new leaf with this camera. A little video editing for a change might be nice.

Beka and I are sitting in Cincinnati for a good chunk of layover time. If I had any kind of inspiration or zeal for reiteration of our adventures, I'd try to get a head start...unfortunately I'm way too tired to share that much. Let's just say that by the end of the day, there will be two people on opposite ends of the continent with a grand propensity toward mopery...

I hope my absence and stubborn refusal to post on the fly hasn't left anyone too disappointed. I'm hoping to get some sleep and re-apply myself to the composition of numerous tidbits--such as has kept me busy for too many months now.

Pictures of the conference are slowly making their way to the surface on several different sites...such as Gloria's blog.