Thursday, September 29, 2005

For those who like puzzles/riddles/games...

...prepare to waste hours.

So cool.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tag: Andrew

10 Years ago: I was 11 and in the sixth grade. I loved Star Wars, especially Star Wars micromachines. Coolest. Things. Ever. My friends and I wrought havoc at Zeman Elementary, being removed from assemblies for laughing uncontrollably, bending silverware in the cafeteria, and generally running amok. One time we carried a donut around for a week that was left over from a teacher's meeting one morning. We named him "Doney" and he would sit quietly on our desk while work was done. Our teacher threw him in the trash several times, but we always found some way of rescuing him.

5 Years ago: I was 16 and a junior in high school. This was my most difficult, but also most productive, year of high school. AP US History was the most useful class of my high school experience, since it taught me how to write historical arguments based on primary texts. I was very involved in Berean's high school youth group, and had been playing electric guitar on the worship team there for about a year. I think I was introduced to Radiohead in the spring of this schoolyear.

1 Year ago: I was a junior in college. My semester was a full one, with Medieval Literature and Theology being my most time consuming, but probably most interesting, class. I think I was still writing on my first blog, and Jacob and I would soon form this one. I had recently met all these great people from Zion, and was starting to do some RUF stuff.

Yesterday: Slept late since I did some recording the night before. Nearly missed my bus on the way to school. Discussed Thomistic philosophy in my Great Ideas in Religion class. Had a great practice for worship team, and played my electric guitar for the first time in a couple weeks. Watched the second half of Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary and went to bed too late for the second night in a row.

5 Snacks I enjoy: dark chocolate Milky Way, cinnamon rolls, chips and salsa, Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Pringles

5 Songs I know all the words to: "Luv is a Verb" - DC Talk, "Stay or Leave" - Dave Matthews, "Subterranean Homesick Blues" - Bob Dylan, "Fake Plastic Trees" - Radiohead, "Njosnavelin" - Sigur Ros

5 Things I'd do with a million dollars: buy 100 million Chicklets, mountaineering expeditions, finance revolutions, build a cake or something, give to worthy non-profit organizations (like the Precious Moments Chapel)

5 places I'd run away to: Colorado; Glastonbury, England; the Swiss Alps; Iceland; Nepal

5 Things I'd never wear: glitter, Abercrombie (it'd take a lot of convincing), pantyhose (or, for that matter, anything with the word "panty" or "hose" in it), stirrup pants, precision time pieces (not really)

5 favorite tv shows: Simpsons, I Love the 80s, Behind the Music, David the Gnome, X-Files

5 Greatest joys: salvation, good music, clean sheets just out of the dryer on a cold evening with the windows open, thought-provoking discussion, precision time pieces (not really)

5 people to pass this on to: Jacob (since he hasn't done it yet), Ben (if he were, hypothetically, to post on his blog)...anyone else who reads this and feels inspired

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Another Hymn

I bring you a new arrangement of yet another William Cowper hymn: "O For A Closer Walk With God." Gregorian chant meets droning folk with a healthy dose of electronica. This was entirely too much fun to make.

Download it!

Remember, the files are only available for seven days. And please only download once since there's a 25 download limit.

Edit: I made a My Space site to host the mp3s.


Sunday, September 25, 2005


Today I realized that my iBook actually has a halfway decent microphone built into it. Thus, I've wasted several hours recording a couple songs. If I had a way to post them, I would. I've got them on my iPod, so if you'd like to hear them, ask me sometime. (If you're one of the two readers whom I don't know in the real world, you're out of luck I guess.)

This will surely ruin my academic career.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

No Direction Home

For those of you who (like me) missed Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary "No Direction Home" at the Ross last week, you can still see it on NET Monday and Tuesday nights. The first half is showing at 8 and 10 Monday night, and the second half at 8 and 10 on Tuesday.


Friday, September 23, 2005


Today I saw (injured Tight End for the Huskers) Matt Herion on campus. I really wanted to ask him if he knew when he would be able to play again, so, after much internal conflict I did. He said that he had no idea.

Of course, that much doesn't make a very interesting story, so my question is this: how nerdy is it that most of my internal conflict centered on whether I would be making the mistake that Mr. Collins made with Mr. Darcy (in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice) by, not knowing Mr. Herion, nevertheless introducing myself to him?

For an assignment for my writing class, we had to write an evaluative essay. I chose to review the new coffee shop on 11th and O, Scooter's Coffeehouse. We all passed our essays around the class so that we were all reading and evaluating as many of the other essays as we could during the period. We were all supposed to write one positive comment and one negative comment. Even though our comments were supposed to be unique to what people before us had written, I received two comments on my use of parentheses, my favorite being: "Seemingly overwhelming use of parentheses." I thought that was pretty funny.
Dear Abby--
In one of my classes, I sit by a guy who constantly turns to me during class, smiles (as if at a joke--it's not like he's hitting on me (thankfully)), and mumbles something so softly that I can't even tell always if he's actually saying something. I usually smile to suggest that (1) I found whatever he was laughing at funny from the beginning, too; (2) I heard his commentary; and (3) I found his commentary even more funny so that something substantial was added to my classroom experience by his mumblings.

Abby, I find my classmate distracting and annoying; what should I do about this?

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sufjan and the Illinoisemakers

Come on!  Feel the Illinoise!

Sufjan Sings!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Investigatory Journalism

Sufjan Stevens is actually the son of Yousef Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens).

Line of Reasoning #1: They share the same last name. (Or at least used to.)
Line of Reasoning #2: They both create acoustic folk accompanied by hushed vocals. (Or at least used to.)
Line of Reasoning #3: Sufjan is an Muslim name. Cat Stevens converted to Islam and changed his name to Yousef Islam. He therefore named his son Sufjan.
Line of Reasoning #4: Cat Stevens song "Father and Son" details a father's estrangement from his son. Sufjan's song "For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti" describes the adoption of a fatherless son. These are certainly autobiographical.
Line of Reasoning #5: Photographic Evidence

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Islamic Calvinism

Today in my History of Islam class, we talked about the two major strands of ideology concerning human nature, the authority of the Qur'an, and God's sovereignty. In short, there were originally two main views within Sunni (the majority sect) Islam: one was essentially Calvinistic in an Islamic sort of way (e.g., humans cannot truly understand the universe simply through reason since they are depraved, the Qur'an is co-eternal with God, and God predestines humans to have or not to have faith); the other was essentially Pelagian in an Islamic sort of way (e.g., humans can use Greek wisdom and philosophy to understand the universe and God, the Qur'an is created and not co-eternal with God, and humans have utter free will as to whether or not to believe in God).

The most interesting part of the discussion was my history professor's take on this debate, since it is essentially the same debate we Christians see: "Whenever you have a monotheistic religion, this is going to be an issue, because, if God is the all-powerful creator of everything, how can it be that humans can act outside his will? On the other hand, if God decides everything and humans are drones, what is the point of religion?" Since my professor was an atheist, I thought that her comments were pretty insightful, especially since I have had self-proclaimed Christian professors who have openly mocked Calvinism as ridiculous in class discussions.

On a side note, we discussed Daniel Defoe's Puritan Calvinism in relation to his novel Robinson Crusoe in my very next class. Two out of three class discussions involving Calvinism in one day: that ain't bad at all.



The Daily Nebraskan today noted that the score in the Nebraska football game last weekend against Pittsburg (7-6) was the lowest scoring game (13 total points) in which the Cornhuskers had participated since Nebraska beat Baylor 13-0 in 1990. That game against Baylor was the very first Cornhusker game I ever attended. Ah, the memories!

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mr. Shing Goes to Hollywood

While watching L.A. Confidential this summer, Jacob, Grant, and I noticed the uncanny resemblence between Guy Pearce and our very own RUF intern. See for yourself:


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ooooh! It's Talking Jesus!!!

From the Talking Bible Dolls website:
A great NEW toy for any child. Each Jesus, Moses, or Queen Esther doll gives actual scripture verses to introduce children of all ages to the wisdom of the Bible.
Including a complete deconstruction of Jeremiah 29:11.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Survived the Gideon Gauntlet, Fall 2005

The LORD said to the Gideons, "The people with you are too many for me to give the students into their hand, lest they boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.' Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from UNL.'" Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.

I appreciate what these guys are doing, but couldn't they be slightly more efficient? There were about four of them under the Love Library link alone.

I'm scared to go back out...

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More news about the Prayer of Jabez

I love Lark News.

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I love Love

Good news: I saw perhaps my favorite t-shirt ever today; it said, "Libraries are for lovers," and was in the style of t-shirts sold at (Of Bald Men and Bears sponsored) Random Shirts.

Bad news: I didn't ask the girl who was wearing it where she got it, and an internet search yielded no search results of worth.

*Sigh* My goal to be cool through pithy t-shirts has been thwarted again.

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Sigur Ros - Takk...

I downloaded the album this morning off iTunes and have been spending some quality time with it before class. So far, first impressions (although technically I did listen to the preview) are extraordinarily favorable. It's a much more joyful and hopeful record than (), while just as beautiful. I've long thought that Sigur Ros makes the best worship music in the world, whether they intend to or not, and this album merely strengthens that conviction.

Standout tracks thus far: The combination of Glosoli and Hoppipolla is absolutely breathtaking.

Listen to the whole thing here.


For the Widows in Plattsmouth, For the Fatherless in Beatrice

One more week.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sigur Ros Live

In case anyone happens to read this soon and is interested, NPR is currently broadcasting a Sigur Ros show live from Maryland. Listen here.


Update: I just finished the webcast and the concert was glorious. I plugged in my iBook to the surround sound and cranked up the volume, and was rather impressed with the sound quality of the broadcast. (I'm sure it's not the same as being there, but this is probably the closest I'll get for a while.) Great setlist, with a good bit from the new album and two of my favorites, "Njosnavelin" and "Popplagid" from ().

They're going to archive the show soon, so if you missed it and want to listen, check the site. On September 27 NPR is broadcasting The White Stripes with M. Ward and The Shins, so that might be worth checking out as well. Also, I recently subscribed to the All Songs Considered podcast, which is the best music news program I'm aware of.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Good Times

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New Sigur Ros Album

The entire new Sigur Ros album can be heard here. Unfortunately (fortunately?) you have to listen to the album in its entirety, since the "back" and "forward" functions are disabled. These guys are making some of the most drowningly beautiful music this side of the millenium.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bethlehem Baptist Baptism Update

My dear colleague posted this about Bethlehem Baptist's (John Piper's church) pending decision to change their membership requirements from including mandates of a person's being immersed in a believers' baptism. There is an 84-page paper (PDF format) on the history and specific bylaws amendments that the church's board will be recommending to be adopted, but probably the best part of the document is John Piper's Twelve Theses regarding the issue of Infant and Believer Baptism, which I will reprint here:

  1. Faithfulness to Biblical doctrine is crucial. It helps preserve the honor of Christ, promote the good of the church, and spread the gospel.
  2. Not all doctrines are of equal weight in saving the soul or shaping Christlike holiness and love.
  3. Doctrinal unity in the teaching authority (the elders) of the local church is more crucial and more realistic than doctrinal unity among the newest members and most recent or immature converts.
  4. Different convictions about the proper mode of baptizing believers (sprinkling, pouring, immersing), and different backgrounds with respect to the mode of baptism a person has experienced, are not weighty or central enough matters to exclude a person from membership in the local church if he meets all other relevant qualifications and is persuaded from Bible study and clear conscience that his baptism is valid. Baptismal regeneration is so serious an error that it calls salvation by faith into question and is not an acceptable understanding or practice of baptism.
  5. The office or denominational affiliation of the Christian person who has performed someone’s baptism is not a weighty or central enough matter to exclude a person from membership in the local church if he meets all other relevant qualifications and is persuaded from Bible study and clear conscience that his baptism is valid.
  6. Infant baptism is not explicitly commanded or clearly taught in the New Testament; but believer’s baptism is uniformly practiced with nothing explicitly said concerning the baptism of infants born to believing families.
  7. The Biblical case for infant baptism of children belonging to believing parents has some measure of plausibility, if this baptism is treated not as an instrument or evidence of an infant’s regeneration, but as an expression of hope that in a Christian family the child will be the beneficiary of the means of saving grace by word and prayer and all forms of Christian nurture.
  8. However, the Biblical case for infant baptism is not the most compelling position, in view of Thesis #6 above, and in view of the apparent intention of God that the newness of the new covenant, and its hoped-for regenerate community, be signified by a new ordinance (baptism rather than circumcision) (1) that includes both men and women; (2) that occurs at a new point in life, namely, at new birth (which is evidenced by personal faith), not at natural birth (which evidences descent from covenant parents); and (3) that always in the New Testament signifies the reasonable belief that regeneration has already occurred, not the hope of a child’s future regeneration.
  9. Yet, since the best defense of infant baptism admits that circumcision was no sure sign of belonging to the believing remnant of true Israel, but rather was a sign of hope that a child would prove to be a "child of promise" and not just a "child of the flesh," the alleged continuity between old covenant infant circumcision and new covenant infant baptism need not contradict the essence of the newness of the new covenant, since no claim is made that either the old sign of the covenant (circumcision) or the new sign of the covenant (baptism) secured the saving blessing. In other words the importance of voluntary membership in the regenerate people of God is not at issue between Baptists and the best defenders of the Reformed view of infant baptism. What is at issue is whether membership in the visible New Covenant Community should include infants who do not profess faith which is the outward mark of the New Covenant Community. (For a fuller treatment of this issue see John Piper’s “Infant Baptism and the New Covenant Community,” dated 2-14-93.)
  10. Therefore, where the belief in the Biblical validity of infant baptism does not involve baptismal regeneration or the guarantee of saving grace, this belief is not viewed by the elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church as a weighty or central enough departure from Biblical teaching to exclude a person from membership, if he meets all other relevant qualifications and is persuaded from Bible study and a clear conscience that his baptism is valid. In such a case we would not require baptism by immersion as a believer for membership but would teach and pray toward a change of mind that would lead such members eventually to such a baptism.
  11. It is fitting that the teaching authority of the church (the Council of Elders) be unified in its conviction concerning the proper administration of baptism, believing in and practicing what appears most clearly to be the practice and conviction of the early church, namely, believer’s baptism by immersion.
  12. Bethlehem Baptist Church may support and form partnerships with Christians and Christian ministries which fall within #10 above and which are qualified morally and doctrinally in all other relevant matters.

I think that I agree with this (I'm still not persuaded that covenant theology necessarily leads to infant baptism), but I would have to do significantly more studying and thinking before I can come to a definitive answer.

Any thoughts on this from our infant baptist friends?

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Feeling Foolish

This is a story where I was made to feel foolish, although it wasn't really my fault.

Setting: UNL Holdredge Bus (Route #24). 4:30 p.m., Friday afternoon.
Characters: Boy wearing Hastings High School Shirt (I later discover that his name is Paul) and me.

Me: (Noticing boy is wearing shirt from my alma mater) You went to Hastings High School?
Boy: Yeah.
Me: Cool! Me too. What year are you?
Boy: I'm a freshman this year.
Me: Oh, really? Do you know my brother Anthony?
Boy: (Giving me a somewhat puzzled look) Um..yeah. Actually, I guess we live across the street from your family.
Me: Oh, right.

This is a story where I made a fool out of myself--definitely my fault on this one.

Our story begins at the wedding reception of two very good friends of our hero (that's me). The cake was cut, the bride's bouquet tossed, and the groom had carefully removed the garter from his new bride's leg; it was time for all single men (which, as fate would have it, included our hero (that's me)) to gather in order to try to capture the lucky garter. As the fateful moment came, our hero (that's...well, you get the picture) tried his best to remember his training from the basketball he played in elementary school--being the tallest, our hero was wont to be elected to be his team's jumper for tip-offs.

Furiously trying to block out the other single men, our hero keeps his eyes steadily on the garter. At the moment the garter is released, he lunges for it, probably knocking aside a twelve-year-old or two in the process. On the first attempt, no one is able to capture that elusive marriage charm, and it goes scurrying across the polished, oak dance floor. Our hero, paying no mind to his suit, dives for the garter, sliding across the floor in a testosterone-induced fit of competitiveness. Unfortunately, he is boxed out and another stag gains the trophy.

Walking back (in shame) to where his friends are sitting, our hero is greeted with questions about the nature of his valor, such as, "Are you crazy?" Sitting down and brushing himself off, our hero rests from his activity and inspects the damage.

The moral of this story is: even waxed wood floors are able to tear suit trousers if anyone is stupid enough to slide while wearing them.

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If I were to try to write something about the emotions excited by the energy of the first game of the Cornhusker football season, I wouldn't have a clue where to start. Let's just keep it simple: I'm pumped.

However, we fans have a very important part to play in the scheme of Cornhusker athletics--much more important than, for example, simply rooting on the sidelines. ESPN is having a contest for which school has the best mascot (or something like that). You can (and should) vote for Herbie once per day until the contest is over. Access the site here.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Did anyone else know that the title of the movie was taken from a 18th century poem by Alexander Pope called "Eloisa to Abelard," or am I just really behind the times? It was included in the IMDB trivia for the movie, but I found it because the poem was assigned in my Restoration and 18th Century Literature class.

The story of Abelard and Eloisa (or, Heloise) is pretty interesting; Wikipedia has a pretty good article on it. Thinking back through the movie (it's been almost a year since I have seen it), I can see some correlations to the story and the poem, but not between the Jim Carrey and the Kate Winslet characters; instead, the story seems to be most similar to the movie's subplot about the doctor and the Kirsten Dunst characters.

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