Well, let’s see how this little camera works. Brother Dave sent me a Creative USB WebCam (which is an upgrade from our old LPT port one). Quite good. I am using a free program called Pryme to automagicly upload the images to this site. There should be a webcam-ish picture of me “working” to the left. It is set off by motion, so there may be gaps where there is no update because I am either dead, or gone. Any feedback?

Ugh! I have a cold, and it is one of the worst I have had. Nasal bomb ticking down to that painful embarrassing sneeze where the thickening contents meet no tissue because the response was so sudden and reflexes have been deadened by the side effects of ineffective medication. Yuck. The back-ache came first, and then the pressure headache and the weakness. I am on the road to wellville now, but still feel like I am recovering from a punch in the nose.

More on Keirkegaard After more thought and reading on the subject of Existentialism and the writings for Keirkegaard (referred to here as K), I have seen difficulties in holding to such a philosophy. K talks about three spheres of existence, in which the first is the Aesthetic sphere, where man does not really make choices, but is only a spectator in life, all actions are closer to instinct that choice. The second sphere is Ethical. The Ethical sphere is based on reason and states that ethical choices can always be supported by reason. The third sphere is were the problem begins. This is the Religious sphere, where Christians make a leap of faith to believe things that are clearly ‘irrational’. I understand K’s background and the reason for this perspective, as he was in a protestant country that had grown used to it’s religion, and took the mystery for granted. He saw a lack of faith, and a reliance on reason in the church. He wanted to point out the need for faith. The problem with the leap of faith that K talks about is not the faith, but ‘the leap’. It is a departure from reason, and once it is outside of reason, there is no way to explain or discuss it. Here is the trouble. K did not think that Christianity could be validated or defended through history or science. He saw such activity pointless, as ‘the leap’ is by nature irrational. This perspective has opened the door to the post-modern perspective that values ‘the leap’ but not the final destination of the jump. This is the current situation we have with religious tolerance, and the acceptance of other sects and religions as compatable with Christianity. I have many aquiantances who have told me the the God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims is the same, and that we are all brothers. I know this is not true. We share the same God with the Jews, but they have a rather incomplete view in our perspective. As to the claim that Allah and Jehovah are the same, and we are brothers, this is not the teaching of the Koran, nor the Bible. According to the Koran, we are “infidels” and deserve to die. The Bible is pretty clear about the status of Jesus as one of the Godhead, and does not call Him a prophet. Without a rational basis for our faith, there is no way to defend it, nor is there any way to evangelize. We would be in the same situation as everyone else, taking an irrational, wild, crazy leap to believe something for which we have no proof or basis. Thankfully we have the Bible, and is not just a religious book of moral teachings, but a book of science, history, philosophy, and literature. A book to be discussed, defended. In this book is also outlined a plan for Man that answers the questions of classical philosophy. We are above the animals because we are made in God’s image, above machine because we are given a soul. We are imperfect because we have fallen, having made choices in rebellion to God. We are still able to create, build, advance because we are still made in God’s image, but our art is ugly, and our technology misguided because we have fallen.

Reason apart from God leads us to believe that existence is pointless, and that man is the progeny of time and chance. This is the despair of modern man. He looks for the leap of faith, but does not care where he is leaping. Many go the way of the lemming.

On self-study At the beginning of summer there is a summer check-out at the Faith library or LRC (why do we have to change perfectly good names with wonderful connotations into acronyms with stupid meaningless titles. Why is Learning Resource Center better?). I am in the habit of seasoning my fantasy reading with philosophy and theology books. This summer I picked up the Soren Keirkegaard volume of the Makers of the Modern Theological Mind series from Word publishing (Dave French used to work there), Descartes ‘A Discourse on Method, and ‘Ethics: The Philosophy of Morals’ from the Great Ideas (maybe) series. The one on SK was very interesting to me, and I really enjoyed the idea of the three spheres of existence. It could come in very handy for helping churched high schoolers understand their choices. I have not begun Descartes, but I did start ‘Ethics:..’ only to find out it is a reading guide. I have to read many other works, and this book facilitates discussion. To start I read Plato’s ‘Laches’, a Socratic discussion on Virtue, with a focus on courage. The problem is, I do not have access to the library again until the 25th of July, so where do I get the books for the readings? The Internet of course. I found several at Project Gutenburg, but the selection of classics was not what I had hoped. I then went to Radical Academy to see if I could find anything there. They had summaries, and they had discussions, but not any actual works. I found a link to freebooks5000.com. There I went, and was not to thrilled with the layout, or the fact that the whole purpose of the site is to collect info for a commercial mailing list for the company the webmaster runs, DAK. I gave my junk-mail address, and found that they had almost all of the books I needed, all zipped up and ready to download. Good. Now I get to give my self headaches from reading hundreds of pages of thick philosophy on a CRT screen. I will give it a go, and if it goes well, I will do the other books in the same series on law, philosophy, religion, science, etc. I may educate myself yet!

And the rain was on the Earth for forty days and forty nights. (Gen 7:12) So far it has only been two nights and a day. It is strange/wonderful to have constant rain for a whole day. It has not really happened since we got here, but it is one of those things that we think of when we remember our childhoods growing up here. Ah, the sweet odor of…. overflowing septic tanks. Hmmm. Earlier it smelled of wet earth and something resembling plant growth, I think. Actually, it had clean bouquet of trickle, and a slight bite of frogs I think.

Today I broke the toilet. Yeah, how many of you have broken a toilet? I was actually trying to fix it, but the bolts holding the tank to the base were rusted. I think they had been there since the place was built.* One side kind of slipped through the whole because the washer was no-more, but the other side (on the right) decided to continue hanging-out. I tried to be gentle as I rocked the tank back and forth… “That bolt is really rusty, it HAS to give before the base, I mean, the base is strong, it has to hold a lot of weight, right? A tank of water, and a possibly huge person?” The whole base does not have to be strong, and in fact that particular part of the base can be pretty weak. So I heard a snap kind of sound which turned out to be optimistic hearing. It was really a crack. I reached down to make sure the bolt had come through and cut my finger on jagged porcelain. Dang. I was doing this because “I am handy” and “I can fix stuff”. I was also doing it so that we would have one working toilet before my parents come, and before we have to give the car back, and before….. you know, we get tired of keeping the toilet water shut off because they leak and we run out of water. So we will call a plumber. It is a big job to replace a base here, as they do not use toilet rings. They use cement. Yes, cement. Our toilet sits about a half inch off the floor on a nice layer of very hard, very solid cement. No bolts or screws, although the holes are there. They are filled in with the previously mentioned grey stuff. So the plumber will come and chip out our toilet. Not sure if we have other options for securing it to the floor. I have never seen a toilet ring here.

*I know that the toilet has been there for that long because none of the tile behind the tank had any grout in it. You could see the outline of the tank in the spaces between the tiles. These townhouses were not new when we were here in high school. That was 13 years ago.