Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.

Friday, July 26, 2002  

Clue Stick Department: Pat Sajak spoke at the Hillsdale College "All-College Spring Convocation," recently, and said that the people in the entertainment and news business are . . .

[. . .] clueless. Clueless about this country and its people. Clueless about you. And they are afraid. They are afraid of the new technologies-afraid of the dwindling numbers of viewers or readers or listeners... afraid for their very existence. So, don't you see, they have to do what it takes to survive. They must survive. They are important. Who do you people out here -- the ones they fly over on their way to the other Coast for meetings -- who do you think you are?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:13 AM

Shave And A Hair Cut, Two-Bits Department: Gary over at Country Keepers ponders over the meaning of head coverings and hair length as discussed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:4-15.

I've been wondering about this passage myself, but for slightly different reasons. Background: I'm 41 years old, have been a Christian for most of my life, and have been a member of our current church for 20 years. I've never been one to go running to the barber every two weeks. Usually, I'd get it cut pretty short, then go a couple of months. (My hair is such that I can get away with it and not look shabby if the initial haircut is the right kind.) However, it's now been about a year since I've had a REAL haircut (other than trimming the ends), so my hair is shoulder-length.

By the way, did I mention that I'm the worship leader, meaning that I'm in front most every Sunday? Did I also mention that I'm on the elder board?

I've had a couple of people tease me about my hair, but I've talked to them about it, and I don't think they really have a problem with it. It's just a bit unusual for our church. However, I have heard second hand that at least one person thinks that it's bad for an elder to have hair that long. So I've been pondering this, coming from a few different angles: How long is too long? And the contrary applies for women. How short is too short? I guess the most important question is this: Just what exactly is the heart of the issue Paul is dealing with in Corinth?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:14 AM

Thursday, July 25, 2002  

Hearing Things Department: Valerie reflects on "hearing God" over at Kyriosity. She relates this experience:

I was once, 13 or 14 years ago, praying that I would be able to hear Him more in a different sense -- that I would have more wisdom in making certain kinds of decisions. And the "answer" was, "Do what I've already told you to do, then I'll tell you some more." I remember being caught off-guard enough by the impression that I laughed out loud. Laughed because the message was so simple and obvious, and delivered in a "tone" that was perfectly matter-of-fact, yet somehow lighthearted.

I've never heard God speak in the way some people say they have: an audible voice of some sort or another. It would be cool, but I don't think I need it. (That's obvious, I suppose. If I needed it, God would do it, n'est ce pas?)
I have to think that God's "words" to Valerie apply to me in spades: "Do what I've already told you to do, then I'll tell you some more." I've got a long way to go...

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:51 AM

Hot Investment Tips Department: Got this one from the Daniel Amos Discussion List:

If you had bought $1000.00 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.
With Enron, you would have $16.50 of the original $1,000.00.
With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00 left.

If you had bought $1,000.00 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the 10 cent deposit, you would have $214.00.

Based on the above, my current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:32 AM

Wednesday, July 24, 2002  

Comments! We Got Comments! Department: The comment feature now appears to be working. The issue was PEBCAK -- Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard -- a.k.a. Stupid User. I finally figured out that I needed to add the enetation code to my Blogger template. Doh!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:34 AM

Mouths of Babes Department: One of the common objections to Christianity (or to faith in general, for that matter) is the problem of Evil. This problem has many faces, but it boils down to the question "How can you believe in a good and powerful God who allows [insert apparently evil thing here]?" This question can be answered many ways, but they're not simple answers. Coming to terms with this takes a good bit of pondering.

It may come as a surprise that we can find some insights to this problem in children's literature, particularly if it was written by George MacDonald. His book, At the Back of the North Wind tells the story of a little boy named Diamond, who meets the North Wind, who appears to him as a beautiful lady. Through a series of adventures, Diamond comes to trust and love the North Wind.

However, as she carries him through the skies one night, she tells him that she is going to the sea to sink a ship. Diamond, who is being carried tenderly by the North Wind in one hand, is horrified by this announcement.

"Then you do mean to sink the ship with the other hand?"


"It's not like you."

"How do you know that?"

"Quite easily. Here you are taking care of a poor little boy with one arm, and there you are sinking a ship with the other. It can't be like you."

"Ah! but which is me? I can't be two mes, you know."

"No. Nobody can be two mes."

"Well, which me is me?"

"Now I must think. There looks to be two."

"Yes. That's the very point.---You can't be knowing the thing you don't know, can you?"


"Which me do you know?"

"The kindest, goodest, best me in the world," answered Diamond, clinging to North Wind.

"Why am I good to you?"

"I don't know."

"Have you ever done anything for me?"


"Then I must be good to you because I choose to be good to you."


"Why should I choose?"

"Because---because---because you like."

"Why should I like to be good to you?"

"I don't know, except it be because it's good to be good to me."

"That's just it; I am good to you because I like to be good."

"Then why shouldn't you be good to other people as well as to me?"

"That's just what I don't know. Why shouldn't I?"

"I don't know either. Then why shouldn't you?"

"Because I am."

"There it is again," said Diamond. "I don't see that you are. It looks quite the other thing."

"Well, but listen to me, Diamond. You know the one me, you say, and that is good."


"Do you know the other me as well?"

"No. I can't. I shouldn't like to."

"There it is. You don't know the other me. You are sure of one of them?"


"And you are sure there can't be two mes?"


"Then the me you don't know must be the same as the me you do know,---else there would be two mes?"


"Then the other me you don't know must be as kind as the me you do know?"


"Besides, I tell you that it is so, only it doesn't look like it. That I confess freely. Have you anything more to object?"

"No, no, dear North Wind; I am quite satisfied."

"Then I will tell you something you might object. You might say that the me you know is like the other me, and that I am cruel all through."

"I know that can't be, because you are so kind."

"But that kindness might be only a pretence for the sake of being more cruel afterwards."

Diamond clung to her tighter than ever, crying---

"No, no, dear North Wind; I can't believe that. I don't believe it. I won't believe it. That would kill me. I love you, and you must love me, else how did I come to love you? How could you know how to put on such a beautiful face if you did not love me and the rest? No. You may sink as many ships as you like, and I won't say another word. I can't say I shall like to see it, you know."

"That's quite another thing," said North Wind; and as she spoke she gave one spring from the roof of the hay-loft, and rushed up into the clouds, with Diamond on her left arm close to her heart.

(By the way, I'm trying something a bit different with the comments function. We'll see how it works.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:21 AM
support outland!