Archives For Consciousness

I don’t like boring people too much with college related stuff in these parts any more. I’d rather bore you by beating the same old drum and ranting about the ACL.

Anyway. I’ve been blogging my exam prep over at Venn Theology – first for Corinthians, then for Pentateuch. I’ll update the College Resources page here accordingly.

I’ve also uploaded my essays for this semester to Scribd – you can read them at the following locations:

1. Corinthians – In which I suggest that Paul’s view of preaching was heavily influenced by Cicero, a relatively novel argument.
2. Old Testament – In which I suggest that Biblical Theology is the key to understanding the odd mish mash of law and narrative in the Old Testament.
3. Church History – In which I suggest that though some suggest an almost bipolar understanding of Luther where a switch in his head flicks in 1525, he was consistently applying the same theology and ministry practice to changing circumstances throughout his life. And I get a little excited about Reformation propaganda.

I like to think that as I write these essays my implied reader is you, dear reader. So feel free to read these, or ignore them. I can’t promise that they’re entertaining, but putting them online fulfils my desire to be completely open and transparent about what I’m thinking – because full disclosure is the best PR policy – and hopefully means they serve some purpose other than just being lost on a hard drive somewhere like my essays from my first degree were.

They also all have pretty extensive bibliographies that I hope will save other QTC students some time in the future.

That is all.

A long time ago, in a virtual galaxy not so far from me, people used to comment on blogs as a blogging love language. I knew that, It was blog etiquette. Somehow that world passed me by. And I miss that.


Image Credit: Apparently there’s a conference called blog world. Who knew? (This guy)

I have commented much more sparingly than I used to. Others seem to have a similar blog comment malaise. I’m going to do my bit to hold up my end of the social (media) contract. And be more appreciative of the good content other people are writing that I’m thinking about.

Here are some links, rather than comments, as my first step towards rectifying this situation.

Andrew has pretty much killed Things Findo Thinks, replacing it with A Borrowed Flame. I liked this SLR camera simulator he found.

Anna at Goannatree has been writing about writing about writing. She’s posting about her PhD, which is about literature. Which is pretty meta. I enjoyed this post, which came hot on the heels of this one about a week of dissertation themed life in Scotland.

Al writes nice little posts, and I like them. His posts about Tim Chester’s posts about Social Media made me grumpy, not at him, at Tim Chester. So angry I commented on the first one. Also, his post about preaching at weddings is something I’m going to file away for the future.

Ali posted something last week about her near brush with a raving gunman in Sydney, and this week introduced me to The Tallest Man on Earth. She also tagged me in a book spine poetry meme which I will participate in once my books consist of something other than light reading on Corinthians and the Pentateuch.

Arthur and Tamie are getting ready to finish life in Melbourne, start life as parents, and start life in Tanzania. Their posts are fun. I liked this one.

Ben has a new theme. Which looks nice – though for some reason the first second after you load it the fonts are really effeminate, only to be replaced with the felt tip styled ones.

David posted a good little review of the 2 Ways 2 Live App, and a better post about marriage and stuff.

Izaac has been pondering preaching, I commented on two of those because I think the idea that word ministry is ONLY preaching is a bit spurious and doesn’t fit with the Bible’s picture of prophetic ministry, or the way Paul conceives of his teaching of the churches he cares for to include his life and sufferings.

Mikey posted about the search for black curtains, spiritually inspired cake, and excellence – following this discussion on Hans’ blog. Hans has an excellent post on Christianity and homosexuality too.

Steve at Communicate Jesus also reflects on the excellence thing.

Peter Ko posted on a strange issue (I thought). Apparently there are young Christians who think it’s a good idea for unmarried Christian couples to holiday together. Alone. And further, that it’s a bad idea for people to be “legalistic” about the issue. This isn’t legalism. This is wisdom. And thus, I became an old person.

Simone has been writing reports and musicals.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of the posts I’ve enjoyed from the blogs that I read, but I hope that in some way it makes amends for my poor online citizenship in recent times.

UPDATE: I completely forgot this one. Which was, indeed, the motivation behind providing a list to blogs I enjoy. Dave McDonald has started a blog tracking his fight with cancer, and the thoughts that go with it. This sensational letter to Sam Harris is a fine example of what he’s producing and why you should read it. Plus – it’s a great way to keep him, his family, and those around him, in your prayers.

Today was fun. On the back of an incredibly busy weekend we spent the afternoon painting with Soph. This was Robyn’s Mother’s Day present.

Well. The painting, a photo, and a creatively paint stained white onesie. Which I’ll frame or something.

We appreciate that this day is both a) very commercial, and b) hard for many people, but there’s something nice about the opportunity to recognise mums.

I think one of the things that being a parent has taught me, in these four and a bit months, is the sort of emotional investment, love, and energy, my own parents made in me. So thanks mum (and dad).

I’m also incredibly in awe of Robyn’s transformation. She’s such a natural at being a mum. It’s incredible.

I’m looking forward to watching my biggest little sister get married tomorrow.

I’m thankful that I’m the oldest child in my family because I can watch all my sisters blossom, and appreciate their gifts, with pride rather than envy.

It’s a privilege to have grown up with such quality women, who became something of a yardstick for me when it came to looking for my own spouse.

Anyway. Big congrats to Jo, and to Shayne. I think the comment a status I posted asking for one word descriptions of both of them pretty much sums this up:

“Jo is incredible in every way. Shayne is a very lucky guy”

I’ll be MCing the wedding. I’ve done a few of these now. I’m finding it harder and harder to try to be funny rather than functional. I’ve seen so many bad MCs and I dread being one of them.

So a while back I courted controversy by poking fun at parents who overshared on Facebook. Now, the world has turned and revolved. Time has passed. And I’m a parent. Which is great. Really it’s up there as one of the equal best things that has ever happened to me.

Like all parents I believe my offspring to be the cutest and most interesting baby the world has ever known. Like most modern day parents I believe Facebook is a great medium for sharing content with interested people who live a long way away. Like my sister who lives interstate, and my sister-in-law, brother-outlaw, and nephew who live overseas. It’s so easy to justify posting stuff on this basis. But that. Friends. Is a slippery slope into oversharing – about which my thoughts have not changed. But consider this a preemptive post which I will supply in the future to anybody who calls me out on the potentially perceived gap between my words in 2009, and my actions in 2012.

So here are my six rules.

1. Make it opt-in. Don’t force people to consume what you’re putting out there. The internet pretty much does this for you though, so I don’t worry too much about that.
2. Make it interesting. People won’t hate you for oversharing if they’re entertained, or what you are posting is actually cute. Check with someone else. Edit. Put up less than you think you ought (I’m a little guilty of breaking this last bit). Leave people wanting more.
3. Keep it contained. Don’t post a new album of photos every time you upload a photo. Post photos to the old albums. Don’t clutter people’s newsfeeds with an upload a day, upload a batch at once.
4. Don’t be single-minded. There’s more to life than your child and than your role as a parent. Talk about that stuff too. For me this means posting about coffee. Posting links to cool stuff. Posting
links to my blog(s).
5. Don’t potentially embarrass the child. Remember your child isn’t old enough to censor you yet. So self censor. I have good poo stories, and good spew stories. But only posted about the latter when it was me who got covered, and mostly because Robyn’s response to said covering was to laugh and get the camera, rather than to clean me up.
6. Never. Ever. Give gratuitous parenting advice to anybody on the basis of how excellent your own child is, or how brilliant you think you are at parenting. Especially if you’re not a parent.

So, that’s really a long justification for sharing these additional photos of our incredibly cute daughter. Dressed in a koala suit that I bought online. When I ordered it a couple of months ago I was told that it was tacky and horrible. Now I think it’s safe to say that the purchase was inspired.

Tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 (funnier if you pronounce it out loud and string the words together) I am visiting the dentist (who happens to be my younger sister), to have my wisdom teeth removed. Two of them. Up top.

I wasn’t worried about this at all until my boss had his wisdom teeth out last week in what can only be described as a dental horror story. ┬áNow I’m feeling a little attached to these teeth and wondering whose bright idea it was to get the procedure in my one week of Easter break.

Anyway. Depending on how it goes, recovery time could be prime “improving my lagging post rate” time here and on my other blogs. This was going to be a post about why I’ve been posting so infrequently, but I’ve decided to summarise that in a picture, or two.

So tomorrow is election day. After a year of ridiculousness we finally get to put the longest and most annoying election campaign in history to bed.

This campaign involved both parties, but particularly the ALP, sinking to new lows and treating the electorate with an incredible degree of contempt. We are not stupid.

The latest in this cascading, nay, spiralling, cycle of stupidity comes in the form of Anna Bligh’s early concession advertisements – which plead with voters not to punish her party too harshly on the basis that Campbell Newman will have “unfettered” power if he wins a significant majority. This is an interesting pitch. In some sense it’s an improvement on the horrible ad hominem negativity Labor relied on for the first 11 months of this election campaign. If this is plan B, plan C must be terribad. This line of argument is incredibly stupid. For two reasons. Essentially, so far as “power” is concerned – there is no difference between a one seat majority, and a fifty seat majority in the Queensland parliament – especially as there is no senate. The argument also strikes me as being a little hypocritical, given that back in 2004 the Labor party had a 63-20 majority. And they weren’t complaining about the damage this did to democracy then.

Anyway. As Christians, who are more than just your “tick a box on census day” Christians, there’s all sorts of pressure that different people attempt to pile on to us to sway our votes. If it’s not the ACL telling you where everybody stands on the “important moral issues” it’s Family First telling you that their stance on all those moral issues is, to quote the musician Beck, where it’s at. I listened to a panel discussion on 96.5 (a Christian radio station in Brisbane – for those of you reading outside of south east Queensland) last weekend, featuring a good and very reasonably minded friend of mine, and the implicit, if not occasionally explicit message from the show was that a Christian can’t really, in good conscience, vote anything other than conservative. Which, quite frankly, is ridiculous. While we should be mindful of employing a historical fallacy – that how things used to be, or how things were in the beginning, is equal to how they are now – both Labor and the Coalition parties were established to promote, or protect “Christian” values. And both historical party platforms have important messages in particular times and places. Thankfully, modern Australia isn’t really that place – the parties essentially agree on almost all the major issues. We have it pretty good in Australia – and our politicians, while approaching issues from different philosophical frameworks, are essentially just putting different window dressing on the same shops.

The problem with most Christian “how to vote” cards, policy trackers, and any sort of suggestion that God endorses the policy platform of any party, is that life is complex, and democratic politics involves complexity and compromise. It’s be great to be able to force everybody to do what we want, but not so great when the boot is on the other foot.

So here, before I go any further, is “how to vote” tomorrow. As a Christian. Or as anybody.

Vote with your head.

That’s it. You can stop reading now. If that’s all you were after. Participating in a democratic process is an incredible privilege, and abusing it is a sure-fire way to end up with a bad government, and a lowest common denominator form of political campaigning.

Here’s my handy “how to vote” card for any Australian election – it was prepared for the last Federal Election, but is still relevant for tomorrow.

This may be an over simplification, because we have to acknowledge that there are hot-button issues for Christian voters. Some of us feel so strongly about a Christian moral framework that we only want Christians governing the country. And we want the country governed using a Christian worldview. We like to appeal to Australia’s so called “Christian heritage” to justify lording it over our heathen neighbours, who on the whole, just want to eat, drink, and be merry – without us interfering. The Christian heritage assumption is based on a pretty questionable interpretation of some historical data, I’m not going to argue that our system of laws isn’t based on Judea-Christian values – because they are – but I doubt that Christianity was ever practiced by the majority of Australians in any meaningful way (church attendance has consistently been much lower than those who nominate as Christian in the census). If you want you can read my Australian Church History essay on this question.

I posted on abortion recently – and it’s an issue many people feel pretty strongly about. Strongly enough that it might influence their vote. And possibly With good reason. Abortion, to my mind, involves speaking out on behalf of the voiceless (the unborn) and attempting to protect and uphold life. But, the reality is that Labor and the LNP are in a two horse race to be the decision makers for the state (Katter’s Australia Party, the Greens, and Family First might compete in each electorate – but their policy platforms aren’t big enough for them to be treated as worthy of a vote). And their positions on the issue of abortion are almost impossible to tell apart. So, Campbell Newman, refused to outline his party’s position on the issue. There’s no real choice here anyway – and the way forward on this issue is something I discussed in the post linked above.

This isn’t really anything I haven’t said before. But a couple of people have asked me if I was going to post about the election. And now I have. There’s a second post following this one very shortly.

At this point, in terms of my own vote, the similarity of the major parties, and the craziness of the fringes, means that my vote is coming down to a question of style rather than substance. I feel inclined to punish Labor for their horrible campaign. Relentless negativity based on spurious accusations, directed at an individual, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I can’t possibly vote for the Labor party after their campaign.

I get this date wrong every year. I’m going to schedule the next few posts anniversary ahead of time. Anyway.

I’ve been blogging for six years. Here’s my first post, as it reads on St. Eutychus, here it is on my original Blogger blog.

Its been a fun six years. Blogging is one of my favourite pastimes. I’ve posted 5,404 posts with 8,916 comments. I still love your comments, and love that people want to read my thoughts, rants, liveblogs and follow my wanderings around the interwebs.

This also means it’s six years since I moved to Townsville, where many life changing things happened, especially my meeting of my wife, and number one blog reader, Robyn. Who used my blog to suss me out, and introduce me to her family – so its been pretty worthwhile on that front. Also, her ongoing patience with my countless hours playing around on the internet and fiddling with my blog are a huge part of the reason I’m still online.

Thanks for reading.

This, and other cute animal videos, available for your “awwing” pleasure at heysoph.com (a website updated for my daughter’s viewing pleasure).

To be honest, I’m having lots of fun finding cute videos to post there. Maybe I should start using Pinterest.

Brilliant. Cook eggs in onion rings, or capsicum.

I think I will.

From Lifehacker.

So my recent Dropbox ad giveaway was pretty popular, and while I was scrounging around to see if I could get more free advertising dollars I came across this offer from Google. Because I work as a web and social media consultant (and I do), I could sign up to become a Google Engage Partner.

They give me a bunch of $75 vouchers. You set up a google adwords account (using a gmail address, and registering at google.com/adwords). I send you a voucher code. You build your own $75 ad campaign with your dropbox referral link.

We all win. Except me. But I get to give something away. First ten people who meet these criteria can have a code:

  • Vouchers can only be used on new accounts opened in the last 14 days with a new billing address located in Australia or New Zealand.
  • An AdWords account can use only one voucher.

PS email me to get the code, my address is floating around on the site somewhere. If you want to hire me as a consultant you can use that email address too. Though I’m currently fairly flat out.

This is why I became a father.

20120225-165248.jpg

K-Rudd looks set to have another tilt at the lodge. Which, for non-Australians, is where the Prime Minister of Australia lives.

I’d rather the Labor party just install Bill Shorten. He seems eloquent and clever. Or Tanya Plibersek. I think I’d consider voting Labor if there was a Shorten/Plibersek ticket.

K-Rudd was a control freak, and just as power hungry as Gillard. And he eats ear wax… it’s the result of some bizarre hagiographic redaction, and the sour taste his public knifing left in our mouth, that gives him his position in the polls. Partly I think the electorate relishes the chance to turf him out democratically.

J-Gill is just awful. A political experiment gone wrong. She can’t get anything right, and clearly moves in whatever direction is popular on the issues she doesn’t care about – so she’s strong on climate change and education, but is about to change her position on the definition of marriage (if the papers today are anything to go by).

Here’s what I think he should do when he inevitably loses his challenge next week, or whenever it happens. Instead of moving to the backbenches, he should move to the cross benches, with whatever Labor supporters feel strongly enough about ousting Gillard. He should do a Katter, and start his own party. And he should trigger a double dissolution. Leave the party in a huff. And write his memoirs.

He can’t win from here. His party hates him. He doesn’t seem to have the requisite support. If he resigns his seat there’s every chance the power grabbers in the Labor party will find some way to hold on in a messy hung parliament. So crossing the floor seems like his best option for making waves for Julia, who he clearly dislikes.

The other mob across the floor aren’t much better, Tony Abbott is a walking cliche/soundbite/bad visual pun. We should probably just draft Peter Costello or Paul Keating back into the top job. At least those guys had a bit of character and some sense of an ideology beyond the endless pursuit of staying in power and beating the other guys.

That is all.

So my special dropbox offer from Sunday proved pretty popular – and sadly all the spots are full. I’m learning about google ads. And it’s really hard to juggle a bunch of advertising campaigns all using the same keywords so that the love is fairly shared around equally.

But anyway. My google credit is almost gone. Some people have told me they’ve got referrals. If you haven’t – and you were one of the people who gave me your referral link, let me know. And I’ll see if I can tweak things slightly.

But anyway. Here are some tips if you missed out, which I only read about today as I was ferreting around for more ways to boost my space.

You can grab more space by playing the social game. Just go to http://dropbox.com/free.

And, as a better bonus, for those people who are currently students, or employed by an educational institution, or in the possession of an alumni .edu email address – you can double the bonus you get for a successful referral by visiting http://dropbox.com/edu – they’ll even double the space they’ve given you for previous referrals. Which would be great. If QTC gave its students .edu addresses.

If you don’t Dropbox – check it out via this link: http://db.tt/ZClCQFXi (which will give me a little bit more space).

Dropbox is, without doubt, the coolest and most useful webapp/utility going round. If you don’t use it – click here – and sign up via my referral link. Then I’ll get some extra space.

The referral system is a brilliant way for Dropbox to grow, and it’s at the heart of this post.

Dropbox offers 250 megabytes per referral in online storage space, and everybody has one of those referral links.

I have a Google adwords account. I used it to play around with some ad stuff a while ago. When I signed up, Google gave me $75 of free advertising. This week they gave me another $100 for some reason.

So I set up an ad for Dropbox using my referral link. I’d read about this trick on Lifehacker. 18 free dollars later, I’m up to 6GB in Dropbox space, and I still have a bit of Google money left.

So I’m willing to offer the first five people who ask in the comments here their very own ad with their very own referral link – just email it to me, or post it as a link in the comments. I don’t mind. I’ll put $10 of my google credit towards your campaign.

It seems to work better during office hours in a non-Australian timezone – ie I got most of my clicks overnight on Thursday, our time.

So anyway. Hit me up. And if you don’t use Dropbox already, click here.

UPDATE: The five slots filled up pretty quickly. Sorry to those who missed out.