Facebook Sux

Josh Marshall highlights one of the many reasons why I cancelled my facebook profile:

Maybe because I don’t buy enough stuff online. But according to this article in the Times, they’ve got it set up now where your “friends” are notified about what you buy online — presumably by some modern equivalent of cookies. So you get pinged “Josh bought ‘Jack’s Big Music Show DVD” from Blahblah.com!

And you can’t disable the function apparently. [ed.note: Usually I get tips and corrections from readers. In this case it came from my wife. Apparently you can opt out. But not in general. You have to opt out on every single purchase. A box comes up when you buy something and asks “Would you like to tell your friends on Facebook about your purchase of this Large Vibrating Egg (TM)?’ So I think my disgruntlement still applies.]

Doing what I do I live my life with a certain amount of transparency. But I think I might actually close my account just based on the intrusiveness of it. Am I just an old fuddy-duddy?

Seconded. The Times article he mentioned can be found here.

Huckabee, Jesus and the Ending of Human Life

Matthew 15:38-48:

An Eye for an Eye

38″You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It’s fascinating to watch a self-professed follower of Jesus rationalize his disagreement with the teachings of Jesus. At some point for Mr. Huckabee, the above passage became conditional.

it’s good to go back

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I bought this record player somewhere in South Carolina a few weeks back. I was in a record store and this player caught my eye because it features a USB audio which allows you to easily digitize your vinyl collection. I’ve needed a record player for a while now and this one was relatively cheap and the USB feature works REALLY well. You can digitize your lp’s in whatever quality or format you prefer (aiff, wav, mp3). So far I’ve been converting the songs into 32-bit, 44100 Hz aiff’s and I couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing like listening to music on your iPod with the crackle of the needle in between songs.

All throughout the Thanksgiving holiday we’ve been listening to vinyl in the house pretty much exclusively. When I set up the player, our six year old daughter, Ava, had no idea what it was. “What’s that, daddy?”. I had to clue her in on the old fashion way of listening to music. I didn’t really consider that in her six years on earth, Ava has never laid eyes on a record player. It was kind of a fun opportunity to show her the player, play her some of my old records. We sat and listened to MJ’s “Thriller”, Journey’s “Frontier”, the Boss’ “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, Tom Petty’s “Long After Dark”. Ava is bummed that “High School Musical 2” isn’t available on wax. I, for one, am very thankful for that.

Through all this, it’s been nice to rediscover the joy of listening to music in this way. I like it that it requires something of the listener. You are, in a sense, connected to the player rather than the player being connected to you which is what we’ve all become accustomed to. You need to remain somewhat close to the player. You can’t stray off to far because you eventually need to flip the disc. It is a foreign concept these days. There is no skipping songs, there are no “playlists”, there isn’t a “shuffle” function. In some ways, listening to music this way is giving you something that you need instead of something that you want. Don’t get me wrong here, I love my iPod and all the functions it brings with it. I use it all the time. It’s just nice to go back and listen to music in a way that takes a bit of the control out of your hands.

I think it’s very much the same reason that I’ve really connected to the hymns that are sung at our church. There seems to me something more soulful about going back in time, so to speak. It has this effect that removes you from your current context and reminds you that’s there’s more out there to be formed by other than cell phones, sedans, hdtv, and 24 hour news networks.

Bizarre Literary Moments that Involve Me.

I am a big fan of Ken Wilber. If you don’t know who Ken Wilber is, he’s one of the more well respected American philosophers living today. Read more about him here. I’ve written about various books of his on my blog before. His book “A Brief History of Everything” totally floored me.

What’s totally bizarre is that in his novel “Boomeritis” he mentions the band I play in and names some of our songs. Here’s the quote:

“Jimmy Eat World is playing ‘Caveman’ and ‘Robot Factory,’ and the thump thump thumping pounds a brain too jagged”

To give you a frame of reference for how cool this is for me, imagine if you were a Biola student and John Piper mentions in one of his books the persuasive essay you wrote in your sophomore year about how homosexuality is a sin regardless of what Brian McLaren might think. 😉 It’s THAT cool.

But not as cool as this youtube clip of Wilber stopping his brain waves.

MLS is Awesome

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I was lucky enough to stroll the sideline of the MLS Cup this past weekend. I got to say, the game was a blast and I’m now a converted MLS fan, even though PHX doesn’t have a team. i got some sweet close-up shots. This one was my best effort of the day.

Drive-By Evangelism

So i was at a show the other night and there was a band onstage who were a pretty good young rock band. They were the opening act. They ended their set with the singer taking about 3 minutes talking about God and telling the audience that Jesus loves them and even though that might not be cool to talk about at a rock show, he felt compelled to share that with them. It was an interesting moment because this show was not in any way a christian event. First let me say that I have to give the guy some credit to a certain extent because what he shared did take some guts….. especially as an opener. But when I heard him say it, it got me to think about what those words mean in that context and I found myself second guessing if this is the way this message should be shared. Even though I believe that what he said was true, I suppose I’m second guessing the way the message was sent.

What gives someone the authority to share this kind of message? Do you simply need a microphone or a bullhorn? Just because someone might have a captive audience to share this message, does it then mean that telling people Jesus loves them is in some way meaningful? If you are on the street corner handing out tracks that contain the x’s and o’s of “accepting” Jesus, are you doing so with any kind of authority or credibility? If you are in a rock band and you have fans because they love your music, do you take advantage of that evangelical opportunity or not?

If it’s true that credibility and authority aren’t factors when sharing this kind of message, then what kind of message are we sending? If just because I’m in a band and there are fans who will at least listen for a few minutes to what I have to say, does that then mean that I share with them my religious beliefs?

I suppose it all depends on your theology. If you believe that people are going to hell unless they believe the right things and therefore need to be saved, then maybe any way to share this message is fair game. In the context of a transactional gospel, the method wouldn’t matter, would it? By any means necessary the message needs to be trumpeted, right? You don’t necessarily need to know the person. You don’t need to actually have credibility through a meaningful relationship. I suppose there’s not enough time for that kind of thing because it’s all about saving as many souls as possible so you gotta be on to the next lost person pretty quickly. I guess I don’t buy into this kind of theological approach. It broke down for me probably about 15 years ago. Maybe this is why I’ve had this reaction.

In the end, I’m not interested in criticizing this kid for saying what he did. We all have the freedom to say what is on our hearts and talk about what we’re passionate about. But I’m just wondering what we expect from these kinds of expressions of faith. And I’m wondering if maybe it undermines the very deep, rich and meaningful message we intend to project with our lives.