Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Save the Macs!

The Macs are under attack! The Wall Street Journal ran an article yesterday reporting that Macs, due to their increasing popularity, are capturing more attention from programmers who strive to hurt the average American by writing pesky worms. Mac users used to be a small community of common/artsy folks who had stayed out of the computer-virus wars. We simply did not participate - I mean Macs were perfect computers for a pacifist like myself. And we managed to say out of the virus-wars until people began to realize the beauty of a computer that doesn't crash without cause. Folks who are not so artsy have realized the advantage of not having to reformat their hard-drives every time the Blue Screen of Death would pop up.

Yes, Macs are truly wonderful. Much easier to use than those accurséd PCs. But we have a problem - I need to download anti-virus software! The days of ol' are gone; I already miss them. I think I'm going to have withdrawls.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Just War or just war: Part I

We are good at killing. People have always been good at killing.[1] We spend money and man-hours trying to find better, more efficient ways to end lives. I’m not trying to be political; I just suppose it’s part of our human nature, as this has been our history.

NOTE: I am a religion major and my areas of focus have been theology and the New Testament. In other words, I tend to ramble. I will attempt to be pithy and non-academic, as I sometimes will lose even myself. Sorry about all the footnotes – just trying to be academically honest and true to my sources. A list of my sources will be posted after the final installment.

Developed Just War theory has precursors in pagan societies, including sixth-century B.C.E. Chinese Taoism.[2] Armed conflict was viewed as a “regrettable necessity,” as “violence would be against the Tao, and he who is against the Tao dies young.” [3] But when, “the use of soldiers cannot be avoided, [the] best policy is calm restraint… The slaying of multitudes should be mourned with sorrow.”[4] In the fourth century B.C.E., the Hindu society codified in the Book of Manu rules for ‘honorable warriors.’[5] Both Plato and Aristotle recognize war as a necessary evil; yet question what justifies going to war.[6]

However, the Early Christian Church was pacifist.[7] Although not entirely uniform in this view[8], it was held by a vast majority of early Christians.[9] Early Christian actions reflect this. A strong light can be cast on Early Christians’ attitude to war by the serious view they took of the precepts of Jesus enjoining love for all, including enemies, and forbidding retaliation upon the wrongdoer.[10]

The Early Church’s philosophy of pacifism began to change at the time of Constantine with the merging of church and state.[11] Because of the integration of the church and Roman Imperial State, and also partly due to the threat of barbarian invasions, Christians in the fourth and fifth centuries took over from the classical world the doctrine of the just war.[12]

Early Church fathers, including Tertullian were pacifists as well, strongly discouraging Christians from participating in military service.[13] He viewed service to the state as idolatrous; “One soul cannot be owing to two masters – God and Caesar.”[14] Just War theory as a part of Christianity is developed by the works of Ambrose and then more fully by Augustine (five hundred years removed from the time of Christ).[15] Christian participation in war became easier to accept as is became more closely tied to the protection of the Roman Empire.[16]

And since the time Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth, his followers have taken three views when it comes to war: Pacifism, Just War, and the Crusade.[17] The idea of Just War by Christians was further refined and implemented, and then taken to an extreme (by anyone’s standards) with the start of the Crusades in the eleventh century. Theologians who discussed the ethic of war laid stress not on the protection of life and honor, as Augustine had done, but on the protection of property.[18] The Church’s ties to the polity of the Roman Empire facilitated a compromise from their earlier practices that eventually led to a reasoning many Christians still hold today: under certain circumstances it’s acceptable for Christians to go to war.

I do not trace this history to say that because of an early tradition, Christians should be pacifists. Rather, I have outlined all this in hopes that we can see what the first Christians, those who lived and walked in relatively the same time of Jesus, believed Jesus meant and how closely they believed his commands should be followed.

[1] So, Sun Tzu, The Art of War 1.1 in War and Peace, 5:301.
[2] Charles, Between Pacifism and Jihad, 31.
[3] Lao Tzu, The Wisdom of Lao Tzu, 562-63.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Charles, Between Pacifism and Jihad, 32.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Bainton, Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace, 14.
[8] Charles, Between Pacifism and Jihad, 33.
[9] So, Bainton, Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace, 14.
[10] Cadoux, The Early Christian Attitude to War, 67.
[11] Bainton, Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace, 14; 85
[12] Ibid.
[13] Tertullian, On Idolatry, 17.
[14] Ibid., 19.
[15] Bainton, Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace, 89.
[16] Ibid., 90.
[17] Ibid., 15.
[18] Ibid., 106.

Friday, February 24, 2006

In the Arms of Jesus

I walked out of class today confident that not only did a man called Jesus of Nazareth live, but that He was the Son of God - sure that He died, not as a blasphemer on a cross, but as a sacrifice for my life so that I can have an intimate relationship with the creator of the universe. I walked out of class knowing that YHWH was looking down on me, smiling with love.

Dr. Don Greene, science prof here at Baylor for twenty-some-odd years, returned to class today. As many of you know, he lost his 24 year-old son, James, in a parasailing accident a few weeks ago. A incredible man of God, he spoke to us about life & faith today. Showing us pictures and telling us stories, Dr. Greene reminded all of us what he had been reminded of a few seeks ago: life is precious and it can end suddenly. The air we breathe, the noises we hear, the sun we feel, and the rain we smell are all treasures of this gift called life. It's amazing how we sometimes get so busy doing life that we forget what life is. Dr. Greene reminded us how life can end without warning, and it's up to God alone when that time is. I was also reminded of the futility of trying to prove God through science, and the value of faith. And I was reminded that no matter which side of Heaven we're on, we're always in the arms of Jesus.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Laugh!

Thought these real t-shirts were funny; thought I'd share them!

This is a real street sign: Watch for falling COWS!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's Coming!

I am working diligently to put together a cohesive, accurate history and argument for pacifism. It will be posted soon!!!!!! In the meantime, here's a picture of a really big cat.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Technology + Cruz = AAAHHHHHHHHH!

Ok, I've been working at this all day. I have set up two links lists, they're on the sidebar. Links aren't easy to set up on this blog; you have to rewrite the computer code.

Also, you can search my blog or other blogs via Google using the bar on the top of the webpage. One of the "Inflate My Ego!" links is my MySpace web page. On this I will post some of my songs that I've recorded. A tentative ALBUM COVER photo is on MySpace - click to see it!

I'll continue to try to make this blog more snazzier. So stay tuned.

P.S. Just War and Pacifism coming soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Poets & Poltergeists

The elevator door opens and I step inside. There is motor grease covering the floor and sides of the elevator car. The door closes and I move. I am alone. But the elevator keeps stopping and then going. I get sick. I feel like I am experiencing the morning after a night of partying and inebriation.

I am in front of a large crowd. I am about to perform a concert. My guitar is strapped to me and the mic is hot; soundcheck has already been done. The crowd is angry. They are yelling and screaming at me, cursing. Their screams overwhelm me.

I am back inside the elevator. This elevator was messier than the first. There is motor grease everywhere. But this elevator is different: instead of the doors that close like normal, there is a single metal bar, black with grease, that slides accross my chest. It's too close. I'm clausterphobic. I can't breathe.

I'm in a luggage shop. There is a lady behind the counter that won't sell me luggage. She just keeps talking about her daughter. She won't shut up. I'm going to miss my flight.

Make any sense to you? It doesn't to me. These were some of my dreams this moring. I tossed and turned all night. I couldn't get the past the poets and the poltergeists playing in my head. This happens often, I don't no if it's the artist in me or whatever, but it messes me up most of the day when it happens. The rest of the day wasn't much better. What little energy I had, I spent in an intense critical discussion in my NT class. After a hearty meal at Taco Bell, I went into the office. After Marc and I did some work, I took trip to Barnes & Noble and The Compass, expecting to relax with Java and a few books. Instead, the worker at the compass felt the need to interogate me about my theology (everything from cosmology to eschatology) after she found out I was a religion major. When I answered her questions, she proceeded to try to debate me. I shouldn't have worn a Baylor shirt, it would have saved my headache from growing. I haven't really had much in the way of vigor today. This didn't help any. I guess it was a just a whole day of poets and poltergeists.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Moments of Clarity

God cleared my clouded mind this weekend. He showed me how incredibly blessed I am. I have the most awesome job in the world, some of the best friends in the world, and serve the God from whom all blessings flow. There comes a time in hum-drum of the days, when God will make you look back at where you've been, see where you're at, and give you a glimpse of where He wants you do go. This past weekend was one of those moments for me. Hicksie's D*Now was amazing! (You have awesome kids, man!) But it also caused me to think of what we have here; it made the think of what God's "calling" really means. It means, I learned, doing His work, His way, where He wants you. I also realized what BLESSED means - not always joy, but faith that God is joy!

Should you so be inclined, stop to consider what you have. If you're seeking direction, listen to God more than yourself - He'll talk to you! A few "thank yous" are in order:

Hicksie - thanks for inviting me! God used you and guys to talk to me in a way that I really needed. It was great to see you again!

Shari - thanks for listening to my rants and ramblings on the 4-hour drive home.

Marc - thanks for EVERYTHING - I can't possibly list it all in this blog! You are amazing!

Tony - you are amazing!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the scrumdiddliumcious cake!!!!!!!!!! You are the sauce!!!!!!!!!!

Our LORD has blessed me with yalls friendships. I love yall!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Hicks I Go...

This weekend I travel to the Wichita Falls area for the Disciple Now of a my friend and fellow youth pastor Jon Hicks. Jon gave me my first oppourtunity for youth ministry here in Waco, when I came to Baylor. Hicksie is amazing, with a love for students that I envy. I know God is going to do amazing things... I anxiously await a touch from our Lord.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cry, 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war.

OK, let’s have a serious discussion. Over the next several weeks, as time allows, I will be posting several issues surrounding Just War theory (it’s history, etc.), which many Christians claim is a legitimate position. Now, I will be honest – I am a Christian pacifist. I wouldn’t be a pacifist if I was not a Christian, and I have a hard time seeing how someone could be a Christian and not be a pacifist. But I will state my position, hopefully somewhat convincingly in these upcoming posts, along with Just War positions.

Pacifism for me is not a political stance; it’s a Christian one. I fully considered the beliefs and ramifications of this position before I committed to it. And, unfortunately, I’ve taken a lot of heat from fellow Christians about it. But, that’s OK. So, if you don’t agree with me, great! Feel free to comment – it’s all about discussion! All I ask it that you allow yourself to read my position with an open mind… then, if you want to reject pacifism, do so! But listen to the arguments first.

Monday, February 06, 2006


OK, Marc - since you have your OVER-Rated list, here's my UNDER-Rated list. These are not necessarily things that aren't rated high, just not high enough. So, here we go...

5) Macs - not Big Macs, but the computers. Apple computers are so much more stable, and easier to use than PCs. Also, no one bothers to write viruses, worms, etc. to infect them. Not only are the graphics far beyond anything PCs offer, but the artistry that can be enhanced by a Mac is incredible. Even for everyday, internet, web-browsing folks, the Mac can do everything a PC can do, only better, and more easily!

4) Yamaha guitars - To heck with Martins (They are sooooooo OVER-Rated!!!). Basically Yamaha offers the most bang for the buck. Their lower line, offers inexpense quality guitars are low prices ($150). And for experienced/professional players, the upper lines are comparable with Taylors at about half the price. The handcrafted lines (LL, CPX, etc.) are beyond belief in sound quailty and action! They're all I play!!!!!!!!!

3) Wayne Kirkpatrick - Who? He's a songwriter. Like Diane Warren (Who?), he writes for anyone and everyone (Michael W. Smith to Whitney Houston to Tim McGraw). He pretty much just sits in a room and writes music! This guy can pen a lyric - not shallow cheezy ones, but deep meaningful ones. He has one CD out; the music has a great message.

2) Captain Billy Wizzbangs - WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The most amazing mixture of bun, meat, and grease on the face of the planet, heck, the universe for that matter! A local establishment, Capt. Billy's has an old-school diner atmosphere. The burgers are made after you over (none of that fast food mess!), skilletted to perfection, and served with a heaped mount of tots (fried to perfection)! Wow, amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If your ever in the area, or the state take a detour to see the Captain - you won't regret it! Ever!

1) Orange-Aid - This little-known orange drink made by Tropicana is not to be imaged! It's hard to find, there are only about three stores in the entire Waco area that stock this stuff! The first time you try it, it may seem like your average orange-flavored fake drink, but watch out! - addiction will soon overcome you. In a matter of sips, you'll be hooked! Competely unique, Orange-Aid will rock your face OFF!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

We Got a Spot on Leno

The greater Waco area recently garnered a spot in Jay Leno’s monologue. The circumstance? A Catholic priest blessed the opening of the new Hooter’s Restaurant. The opening of Hooters has been the subject of much controversy here in Jerusalem on the Brazos. And the whole fiasco has, in my opinion, not been handled responsibly by the clergy in the area. Several spiritual leaders from around the area led a campaign to ban Hooters from coming to town. However, that apparently failed. There have since been calls for the community to boycott and such, but judging from the reports of lengthy lines and number of Baylor students, that hasn’t had much success either.

My first question is this: what business do Christians have telling non-Christians how to live? Secondly, if Christians are resolved that something is wrong (e.g., going to Hooters) why not just not go to Hooters? Won’t that in itself make a statement to others? If we are supposed to be different, let us be different. Simple, right? Which leads me to my third question: What business, then, does a clergyman have ‘blessing’ something that is not healthy to the Kingdom of God? This represents, unfortunately, a major problem in Christianity today. One side is seemingly overstepping its bounds; the other is wavering on its stance. Neither is helpful; both harm. Neither mentality fares well for the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I'm taking a class on the book of Isaiah this semester. One of the major themes of the first chapter and throughout the book is the Kingship of Yahweh. Isaiah 1.3 addresses a people who do not know where to get their needs met. It seems to me that the Church is no different. We do not know that God is the only one who can meet our needs. In order to gain support from more people, the Church has cozied up to money, popularity, fame, and politics. The thinking goes: if we have something common to fight for, then we have something in common, right?

The Church has nothing in common with a pagan culture. The sooner the Church realizes that it needs God, and only God, instead of popular support from the society around it, the sooner the Church can become RELEVANT. The problem is that we do not want others, including God, to get in the way of our doing church. We like our services, our offertories, our Sunday Schools. And heaven forbid we change to allow God to work. We want things our way. The problem with that is the Church is not Burger King. It's not about our way, but Yahweh's. It's only when we seek God instead of comfort that we can become earthshattering to non-believers.