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


Friday, September 06, 2002  

Quote Of The Day: I'm pulling this from the Larry Wall interview I point to below:

Christians are fond of asking: "What would Jesus do in this situation?" Unfortunately, they very rarely come up with the correct answer, which is: "Something unexpected!" -- Larry Wall

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:39 PM
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Computer Science And Computer Religion Department: Larry Wall is revered by a significant number of geeks as the developer of the Perl scripting language. He's a devout Christian. What does being a Christian have to do with computer programming? Check out this Slashdot interview: Larry Wall On Perl, Religion, and...

In particular, scroll down to question 7, in which "Anonymous Cowdog" asks "Please tell us how in the world a scientific or at least technical mind can believe in God, and what role religion has played in your work on Perl. The answer is pretty keen (in the same way a knife is keen), beginning with:

When you say "how in the world", I take it to mean that you find it more or less inconceivable that someone with a scientific mind (or at least technical mind, hah!) could chooose to believe in God. I'd like to at least get you to the point where you find it conceivable. I expect a good deal of the problem is that you are busy disbelieving a different God than the one I am busy believing in. In theological discussions more than any other kind, it's easy to talk at right angles and never even realize it.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:23 PM
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Post-Modern Psychobabble Snake Oil Department: Two Studies Raise Doubts on Trauma Counseling's Value (washingtonpost.com)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:32 PM
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Codswollop Department: James Lileks delivers a fine fisking to Senator Dayton.

Let’s assume that the US had completely, utterly, unilaterally disarmed in the 70s and 80s, while holding on to the ABM treaty and the no-first-use doctrine. There would be red flags over Paris. Well, more than usual. Without a credible deterrent, those “linchpins” were cardboard shields. As for the “several international accords” Dayton mentions, his priorities are revealed: “important” trumps “imperfect.” The tangible effect on US security and strength matters less than the shiny-eyed groping towards “a better world.” Whether a "better world" might result from a planet rid of the Taliban, the Tikrit mafia, and any other changes the coming war will force on the Middle eastern satrapies isn't even considered, because they did not originate in a position paper penned by a UN diplomat who has lunch with his Syrian counterpart and tears up his parking ticket when he returns to his double-parked limo.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:51 AM
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Thursday, September 05, 2002  

Great Minds Department: Another excellent post on abortion, this one from Susanna Cornett:

I find myself asking, inside, what is nine months for a life? My newest niece just turned one month old today. I have two other nieces, and a nephew. Would I put aside nine months of my life now, if I knew that to do otherwise would mean their death? Absolutely. It's not even a question. I would quit my job - or work somewhere else, or do whatever it took - to preserve their lives. Without question. And they are not even my own children. What censure, what pain, what alteration in my life is so worth avoiding that I would kill innocence that depends solely on my body for life? I recognize that some people live in extraordinary circumstances where the cost to them of bearing a child would be great. But especially in our society, where so much opportunity exists to smooth over those trials, why do women continue to make that choice? Why do they kill their babies?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:51 AM
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Clueless Department: Ben Domenech responds to a NARAL add:

And despite the fact that someone somewhere may have wanted to adopt that little mass in NARAL's womb, they'd never think of letting some stranger raise their child, clothe and feed their child, love their child. Better to love it in your own way, denying your child that one breath of air, that one sunny day at the playground, because to do otherwise would require setting your own selfishness aside in the interests of your child. It's better this way, and we shouldn't change it. Because you live and breathe free, your child never will.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:28 AM
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Wednesday, September 04, 2002  

Regrettable Churches Department: In the aftermath of the completion of the new cathedral in L.A., Rod Dreher is collecting other examples of "regrettable churches over in The Corner. Thus far, I think the"sub-Martian" church and St. Arachnophobia's are the front-runners. (Or are they the back-runners?)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:16 PM
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All I Have To Do Department: I dreamed about Hell last night. I wasn't actually there, but I was in the reception area. (I wasn't worried, because I knew I wasn't going in.) People were standing in a bunch of queues, having their paperwork processed, or something.

I had a piece of chalk, so I started going around and marking people's shirts with crosses. Then, when they'd get to the front of the queue, the guys who were deciding what part of Hell they were supposed to go to (they must have been demons, but they didn't look like your stereotypical demon) would see the mark and tell them to get out of line because they weren't supposed to be there. I thought that was pretty cool, so I was walking around marking more people.

Then one of the demons saw what I was doing, and came over and told me I was breaking the rules. I asked which rules, and he pulled out a scroll and rattled off some regulation number. I could see that the scroll was covered with numbers, but there weren't any rules written on it, so I asked him to get the real set of rules (because I knew that it was the Bible). He started hemming and hawing about not needing to do that. I was getting all set to tell him that, yes, it's true that I've broken a whole bunch of rules, but that the rule that applied in this case was Acts 2:21. Then I woke up.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:18 AM
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Hot Off The Presses Department: Hippocampus Extensions Issue 05: Scripture and Reason is available for your edification.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:31 AM
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Tuesday, September 03, 2002  

Sweeter Than Honeycomb Department: When it comes to autonomy v. theonomy, David Bahnsen says the scoreboard is easy to read:

I believe that current events continue to demonstrate more and more the very irony of this position; it is living in a society without God's law that is cruel and unusual. The relativism that permeates our society has produced so many absurd situations I hesitate to itemize them. This summer, as we have seen a distressing increase in child kidnappings, murders, and molestations, I particularly find God's law to be helpful and soothing: in theonomyland, we would have killed these bastards—what is a more pleasant thought than that? As our nation's leaders grapple with a war on terrorism and Muslim extremists that want to kill Americans, I believe the idea of seeking God's directives would be quite helpful to Bush and company. As the modern church is faced with more liberalism and infidelity than it has seen in generations, perhaps the ethical imperatives found in the Bible would be of practical use. The family unit now sees more divorces than not. Would biblical commandments about adultery, covenant, and commitment be of some use here?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:51 AM
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Reality And Other Myths Department: I sing baritone in a southern gospel quartet. (Kinda freaky, eh? A long-haired Daniel Amos listener who sings southern gospel.) One of the songs in our repetoire is called "I've read the back of the book and we win." However, reading this article by Douglas Jones at Credenda Agenda has convinced me that the song is perhaps a bit misleading. It conveys (and many of us believe) the idea that victory against our enemy will come at the end, but in the meantime, the battle is raging. Wrong. The battle is over.

In the context of a discussion of fantasy, Jones says:

These believers often fear Harry Potter and Tolkien's Gandalf because of a their tiny view of what happened at the cross. They have no sense of The Triumph. No sense of the defeat levelled against all things Satanic. We live in a new world. In Tolkien's terms, we live post-Mordor, and we have come back to the Shire to clean up the minor skirmishes, petty Satanisms lurking about after the war. But Christ's death and resurrection have made a new world. Satanist-Christians deny the deep victory of the cross; they dismiss the biblical declaration that, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15). Satan is disarmed. He still causes petty squabbles, but nothing like he did before the cross when he locked all Gentiles in darkness. That world is dead.

Satan is beaten. So why do we spend so much time worrying about him and ignoring the problems we cause ourselves?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:41 AM
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