Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Truth Project

I recently had the opportunity to present the The Truth Project videos on Sunday mornings at my church, Boulevard Christian Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma. We covered the last episode of the series a week ago today. I bought this set of DVDs several years ago after I got to viewed several of them as part of a men's Bible study group at a previous church. Since it had been several years since I had viewed any of these videos, I enjoyed watching these lessons in a small group setting again.

The focus of the series, which were produced by Focus of the Family, was understanding and developing a Bible-based Christian worldview. Along the way, we discussed the Bible's truth claims, ethics (and morality), society's view of man, the evidence that human beings have a supernatural Creator, historical revisionism, the role of Christianity in the founding of the United States, and several other issues.

These were the 12 episode topics:

  1. Veritology: What is Truth?
  2. Philosophy & Ethics: Says Who?
  3. Anthropology: Who is Man?
  4. Theology: Who is God?
  5. Science: What is True? (2 parts)
  6. History: Whose Story
  7. Sociology: The Divine Imprint
  8. Unio Mystica: Am I Alone?
  9. The State: Whose Law?
  10. The American Experiment: Stepping Stones
  11. Labor: Created to Create
  12. Community & Involvement: God Cares, Do I?
With the exception of lesson 5, which was divided into two one-hour videos, each video lesson was about an hour long. After we viewed each episode, we had time for discussion and prayer.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe

A few days ago, I checked out a book called Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe from my local library. It's a new book (copyright 2016) that I just happened to stumble upon in one of my favorite parts of the non-fiction section of the library (its Dewey Decimal number is 523). The author, Andrew Fazekas, has a website called It's not a particularly long book (only a few hundred pages), but it's filled with cool astronomy photos and images from Star Trek movies and shows.

The content of the chapters alternate between describing Star Trek universe appearances/references to real-life astronomical objects and a discussion of the contemporary understanding of science in that particular area. The end result is neither the The Star Trek Encyclopedia nor an astronomy textbook, but the pages are pleasantly designed with large full-color photographs.

The book includes some interesting "Are we there yet?" sidebars that discuss Star Trek technology that we might not quite have yet (but perhaps we're closer than I realized). Each sidebar includes a graph that charts our progress towards that technology as something like "Light-Years Away", "Getting There", or "Mission Accomplished". (Unless the author has a functional crystal ball, I don't understand how we can confident we can be of our progress toward the goals.) It does sound like we're closer to have tractor beams than I expected (page 54), and I learned on page 38 that we already have a medical tricorder (someone engineered a device called a "Scanadu Scout"). That's news to me!

Even though I've been a fan of Star Trek shows, movies, and books for many years, as I've been flipping through the pages, I feel like I've been learning more about the Star Trek universe than the actual Universe. While I've watched all of the Star Trek movies except for the latest one (it's on my to-do list, so please no spoilers) and I've seen most of the episodes of the various Star Trek TV shows ever made, I haven't been immersed in the Treker culture as much these last few years compared to when I was a teenager. (I think there was a summer that I watched several dozen episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.) Also, I've been reading more non-fiction science books and articles than science fiction the last few years.

Reading this book reminds me that God created a large Universe filled with a variety of planets revolving around various stars clumped into various galaxies, clustered into various groups, clusters, and superclusters (and probably even organized beyond what humans have already discovered). The size and complexity of the Universe boggles my mind!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Oklahoma State Questions on the November 2016 Ballot

Today, Governor Mary Fallin's office released a list of state questions (SQs) that will be on Oklahoma's ballot for the November 8, 2016 general election (SQ 776 and SQ 777 had been previously announced):

  • SQ 776 would declare that the death penalty is not cruel or unusual punishment and would allow the Legislature to designate any method of execution if a current method is declared unconstitutional.
  • SQ 777 would prevent lawmakers from passing legislation to regulate agriculture unless there is a compelling state interest.
  • SQ 779 would increase the state sales tax by 1 percent to fund teacher pay raises and other education causes.
  • SQ 780 would reclassify some criminal offenses, such as drug possession and property crimes, as misdemeanors instead of felonies.
  • SQ 781 would take money saved from implementing SQ 780 and allow counties to fund community rehabilitation programs.
  • SQ 790 would remove a section of the Oklahoma Constitution prohibiting use of state resources for religious purposes.
  • SQ 792 would allow wine and full-strength beer to be sold in grocery stores and convenience stores.
More information about SQ 776 and SQ 777 is available on this page. (I expect that page will be updated with details about the new SQs in the future.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Caillou: boy or bagel?

Both of my kids love the Caillou show on PBS.

The show is about a young boy (named "Caillou") who plays with his younger sister and his friends. He learns about the world around him from his mom and dad. I think my sons could watch the episodes in a loop for hours at a time. Not that I recommend using a TV show as a babysitter, but Caillou does seem to teach good lessons to preschoolers.

My younger son doesn't have a huge vocabulary right now. He says, "Mama", "Daddy", "no", "ball", "duck" and some other words (and he picks up new words every week). I think he has a typical vocabulary for a kid his age. He doens't say "yes" yet (we've settled for nodding for now), but he does says "Caillou" (it doesn't sound exactly like how the rest of us say "Caillou", but we know what he means).

Back in January, my wife found a bagel shop in Washington DC called "Bethesda Bagels" which features a logo that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Caillou character.

The bagel shop also had a large doughnut that I was compelled to buy and devour. It was good!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pilots get to use iPads for the whole flight, but passengers don't.

From F.A.A. Approves iPads in Cockpits, but Not for Passengers:
There is some thought that the rule forbidding devices during takeoff and landing was made to ensure that passengers paid attention. The F.A.A. has never claimed this. (If this was the case, passengers would not be allowed to have books, magazines or newspapers during takeoff and landing.) 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Avatar was actually a remake of Pocahontas.

To prove that Avatar was actually a remake of Pocahontas, someone combined audio from Avatar to show that it matches up precisely with video from Pocahontas.

CFV 426 - Avatar/Pocahontas Mashup FINAL VERSION from Randy Szuch on Vimeo.

Tim Hawkins is awesome!

New Chick-fil-A song:

Chick-fil-A (classic song):