Friday, February 27, 2004

Thoughts on Bible Translations

No, not my thoughts. Instead, my 7 year old daughter's thoughts. She was going through my library and found a Hebrew Bible. So she asks me if there are various versions of the Hebrew, like there are versions like the NIV. I explained about translations into English and different manuscript families in the original languages. So now she wants to know which English translation is closest to the Hebrew Bible. Yes, she actually asked this. So I explained some details of dynamic vs formal equivalence. I wonder what she'll be like when she's 8 years old. She'll probably ask me for a NASB!

Monday, February 23, 2004

A (very) modest musical accomplishment

I'm one quarter Welsh, which means I have all of the love of music, but very little of the ability. However, tonight there has been a tune running through my head. It started with Joel sitting on my lap, and I has improvising a song for him. The words and the tune changed every time I went through it, but finally the tune stabilized with a particular set of words "I'm safe forever, with Jesus watching o're".

I've recorded it as an .mp3 of me whistling and singing the last part of the refrain. The refrain is the only part with words, but the initial words would be describing someone's Christian walk and how the Lord Jesus sustained them on the path. If anyone is curious and interested in hearing the tune (or possibly adding some words), please send me an email and I'll email it to you. My address is It's not much, but I like it. And perhaps the improvisation will stick with my son as a testimony to Christ's sustaining power.

You never know who you'll bump into!

A fellow at work was skiing on the weekend, and when he went into the chalet, there was former Prime Minister Jean Chretien sitting at a table with a friend. He was obviously having a good time, and nobody was bothering him. Likewise, some friends of mine were golfing on a public golf course when then Prime Minister Chretien asked if he could play through. The newspaper a couple of weeks ago had a picture of our new Prime Minister (Paul Martin) having some lunch in a deli across the street from Parliament Hill. Funny things like that happen when you live in Ottawa.

Of course, I don't suppose Chretien really needs protection from the RCMP. After all, when a protester managed to get past the RCMP guards and get into Chretien's face, it was the Prime Minister himself who threw the man to the ground (and then the RCMP showed their zeal and loyalty by stomping all over the guy after the threat was over). In any case, funny things happen in Ottawa.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Biblical Worldview?

An important article is listed at This article discusses recent research concerning how many pastors and ministers deny a Biblical world view. The Biblical world view is defined by this study as follows: There is absolute moral truth based on the Bible; biblical teaching is accurate; Jesus was without sin;
Satan literally exists; God is omnipotent and omniscient; salvation is by grace alone; Christians have a personal responsibility to evangelize.

So what percentage of clergy in various denominations accept or deny a Biblical world view? Read the article and the numbers will shock you. These are basics. These are foundational. And they are being denied by those entrusted to teach them. I think there is an important wake-up call here, that these foundational truths need to be taught!

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

No, we have not gotten the 95cm of snow Halifax did (that's about 34 inches), but we did get about 10cm of wet snow overnight. I shovelled most of the driveway, and a neighbour came over with his snow blower to do the end. Halifax is under a curfrew at the moment, to give the city works crews a chance to plow away the snow.

Last night I cooked supper (Karen feeling a little ill and lot tired). I made cocoa chicken with pasta. The children were sure they would not like it, but in the end they both had a second helping. It would have been better if I had some Corn Flakes crumbs, but I did the best I could.

I'm reading a labour support book now. I guess my other reading will have to wait, since I do have an impending deadline to finish this one! I did get about an hour this morning to review some of my Greek. The stem endings and article forms for the nominative, genitive, dative and accusative cases just don't stick in my brain that well. Continuous practice is needed!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Prayer Meeting, etc.

I was at our church's prayer meeting tonight, and thought it was great. Quite a number of men prayed, and the prayers were specifically focused, fervent and simple. Wow! It was great. One big focus was an upcoming evangelistic "tent meeting". Needless to say, and evangelistic event must be upheld in prayer if there is to be fruit. Bethany came out to the meeting with me. She enjoys spending some time with Daddy, and quite frequently her friend Lizzy is there.

I got my order from Chapters, and included was Eusebius's History of the Church, which covers the first 300 years of church history. I'm really looking forward to digging into it. So far, I'm still on the introduction.

I'm showing my Sunday School class the "Left Behind" video. This is raising some eyebrows, but before it raises yours, please hear me out. The kids told me they wanted to see the video. I agreed, but first we spent 2 weeks discussing Bible prophecy and learning how to build prophecy charts. I gave them each a copy of Ed Harlow's primer on prophecy, and they had to read the chapter on the Rapture before I would let them watch the video. Also, the day we started watching the video I gave them a handout comparing the movie with what we understand the Bible to teach. So, I think this is a reasonable approach.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Chapters, Rogers, Scrolls and Life

I placed my first order with They were offering free shipping on orders over $39. Interestingly enough, they have shipped my order of 3 books and 1 video in 3 separate packages over a 12 hour period. As a customer I think it is great that they ship as soon as possible, but I'm not sure about a business model that offers free shipping and then ensures that they pay twice as much for postage as they need to.

Our cell phone died. It won't hold a charge. It's probably a problem with the battery. I went to the Rogers Cell Phone Store, and I asked about a new cell phone. I was told if we want to stay on our "safety plan" (15 minutes a month, just in case) I would need to buy a new cell phone for a minimum of $300. So I decided to get a new battery. They were out of stock, so I went next door to Radio Shack and got a Lithium battery for less money.

Last night I went to Kanata Baptist Church to heard a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was very interesting. Peter Flint has been studying the scrolls since his days as a graduate student. He is certainly enthusiastic about it. Anyway, I felt it was time well spent.

Tonight was crazy hair night at AWANA. The kids looked quite amusing. Tomorrow I'm working from home to try to do the annual reviews for my employees. It's a pain, but studies have shown that companies with an annual review program grow faster than companies that don't. Of course, the same could be said for stock options, but making a bunch of managers work overtime to do reviews is a lot cheaper than stock options. On the other hand, employees deserve quality feedback. As a manager I should be giving that feedback constantly, but the once a year review allows me to provide formal feedback.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Joel has taken to drawing Zigons. "What's a Zigon" you ask? I haven't the foggiest idea. I do know that they have sharp teeth and arched eyebrows. Joel says they're the "awful guys". Not all hope is lost however, for "Z" is the character who attacks the Zigons. Most recently "Z" fired a missile and a bagel at a Zigon. I think I might get Joel some tinker-toys and show him how to make Buckminsterfullerene (a.k.a. Bucky Balls, a.k.a. C-60). Perhaps the Zigons will fade away from his consciousness as he starts exploring carbon chemistry.

The children are a little under the weather, and so tonight as a special treat I made chocolate chip cookies for them. I had planned to use a mix, but when I got home I found I had bought chocolate chip muffin mix, so I had to make the cookies from scratch.

I ordered a couple of books tonight. "The Moffats" was recommended by an e-friend (and is by the same author as one of the read-alouds in my children's curriculum). I also bought a translation of Eusebius's ecclesiastical history and a Paul Harvey book (The Rest of the Story). I'm almost finished Xenophon, but I think the marketing guys (from Penguin Classics) got carried away. It's not really an inspiration to free men, but it's about a bunch of unpleasant Greek mercenaries who brought a lot of grief to innocent people and who captured a lot of slaves.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Saturday Afternoon

We've had quite a bit of snow, and I've been getting behind in the shovelling, so I has planned to do a lot of shovelling today. Thankfully, a very kind neighbour loaned me his snow blower. That freed up a lot of time for other things. I was able to do some read-aloud books with the children, look at a "Cross-Sections" picture book with them, and put on Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for them to listen to (it was mentioned in their book). I also had time to prepare a Sunday School lesson for tomorrow on Bible Prophecy.

Karen bought a book called "George and Laura", about the Bush family. I'm reading it and find it quite interesting. It's a light read, but provides a lot of interesting background. Hilarious was a conversation George had with his mother over whether it is only Christians who go to heaven. Barbara disagreed and phoned up Billy Graham to settle the matter (turns out George was right). Unfortunately I always have a number of books on the go at the same time. At the moment it's "George and Laura", Xenophon's "Anabasis" and William MacDonald's "Be Holy". There are a couple more at the bottom of the pile as well.

The new monitor is really nice. I've boosted the resolution to 1024x768 and so now I have some space on the desktop. The Samsung 955DF has a nice picture for a reasonable cost. If you use your computer a fair bit, and can afford a bit more than a 17" costs, I recommend it.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

General Update

Lots of little things to mention today. I went to the dentist today for a check-up. No cavities. In fact, it's been a decade since I had a cavity. The dental hygenist said, "I can't find anything to nag you about, but when I see teeth this clean I assume you're brushing too hard." So I guess I'll get an electric toothbrush.

Today my new monitor arrived. My old one was slowly getting dimmer and dimmer. Now that I have the new one, I'm amazed at how dim the old one was! This new one is a 19" Samsung 955DF. It's quite nice for home use, although I must admit I am spoiled at work with a 21" Mitsubishi monitor.

I see that a B.C. teacher cannot use the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to safeguard his free speech. He said something concerning the morality of homosexuality based on his religious principles. The statement was outside the classroom and outside the work environment, but the B.C. Teachers federation decided to punish him for it anyway. The court has ruled that their discipline of him is allowed because the exercise of his free speech and freedom of religion may imply to students that the school environment is not an accepting place. I suppose the same could be said about anyone, including myself. I work as a Manager. If I exercise my freedom of speech and freedom of religion in good faith to address what I consider to be a moral issue, in a peaceful and non-violent manner, and in a place outside the work environment, my employer could decide that I'm a threat to their attempts to follow the various human rights codes and fire me. And of course, it doesn't matter if I treat all my employees in an equal and fair manner. Let me repeat this point. The issue is not my conduct in the workplace, but my exercise of constitutionally granted rights outside the workplace. I've said it before and I'll say it again - we have a legal system but we do not have a justice system.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Old Fashioned Tent Meeting

Please pray for an outreach Bridlewood Bible Chapel is planning this summer. It's an old fashioned tent meeting. We are going to have a large tent out on the lawn of our chapel, right beside the main road in Kanata. Joe Reese is planned to be the speaker, and a children's program is also planned with Bob Kentfield.

Bridlewood is a medium sized church that is seeking to reach out in a number of ways. We have an AWANA program, prison ministry, seniors home ministry and door-to-door outreach. Our church is growing, but not nearly at the pace of the surrounding community. Pray that this would be the means of some dear people coming to know Christ as Saviour.



Sunday, February 01, 2004


Linux is a unix like operating system which has a strong following among technologically sophisticated computer users (a.k.a. geeks). I had played with it a few years ago, and was looking for a chance to do so again. Here's my experience:

I downloaded the Redhat Linux 9 iso images from the web. Even with DSL, this took more than 3 hours. With a modem it would have taken more than 3 days! However, that's merely a reflection of the sophistication of a modern operating system. There were 2 sets of 3 disks available for download, with no indication of which was which. I took a guess and downloaded the 386 disks instead of the RPMS(?) disks. In fact it turns out I made the correct choice. These were the binaries, and the other disks were the source code. Now giving this choice to geeks makes sense, but the average person who wants a desktop OS shouldn't have to face this choice.

So now I have the iso images downloaded. But what do I do with them? The answer is, "Let them sit on my hard drive for a week or so while I contemplate what to do." Thankfully I have a Unix System Administrator working for me. He sets me straight - use one of the various freeware or shareware CD burning tools, and it will uncompress the iso image onto the disk while it's burning. So I downloaded a program, burned the disks, and now I'm in business! Sort of.

My parents had an old PC which was giving them some problems. I had worked on it, reinstalled Windows, etc., but I couldn't get it going. So they left it here and bought themselves a brand new Dell computer (which is 4 times faster than my current PC). So I cleaned up the disk on the old PC, including removing the partitions using fdisk, and reformating the hard drive.

The Red Hat installation CD should allow you to boot from CD, but when I try it the computer tells me "Non system disk error." So I booted from the Windows 98 rescue disks and had a look around on the Linux install CD. Finally, I figured out to use the /dosutils/rawrite program to write the /images/bootdisk.img file out to a floppy, which gave me a floppy I could boot the installer from.

The installer ran very smoothly, except for one problem partitioning the hard drive. There were 3 options. Two of them gave me errors, and the third didn't, so I went with the third. I have no idea what I did, but it didn't give me any errors. The installer is very nice, even though it asks you a lot of questions.

Linux installed without any problems, and I picked the packages I wanted. It also booted fine. Visually the desktop is very attractive. In fact, even with a 2 Meg video card, the icons are very nice. One of my standing criticisms of the freeware movement is that their user interfaces looks like they were designed by a hacker as a sleep deprived after-thought at the end of project. Not so with Red Hat Linux.

My basis of comparison was the old "Slackware" distribution of Linux. Red Hat 9 has come a long way in sophistication, ease of use and visual appeal. But in my opinion, there is a very good reason why Windows owns the desktop (besides the number of Windows applications). For ease of use, Windows wins hands down. The Linux install is way too complicated in comparison to Windows. Yes, I know partitioning the hard drive gives one a sophisticated level of control over the OS, which has important performance implications. But does anyone thing the average desktop user wants to be bothered with these details? Microsoft conducts extensive usability studies, and watches newbies as they try to install the product. All of this pays off. The Linux approach reminds me of the "fun" I had programming in PL/1 on an IBM 3090 mainframe. With the 3090, you have to specify ahead of time how much disk space your program will need. If you need more, you need to reserve another block of disk and copy your program into it. Efficient? Yes from a disk management point of view. User friendly? No way!

A couple of other points. Many of the applications that come with Red Hat Linux 9 have version numbers like 1.29. This does not inspire confidence. If it is bundled with Red Hat, you can be reasonably sure the software is stable, but version numbers like 1.29 tell me that the designers are making this up as they go along, rather than planning out a major release with a full test cycle.

Also, on this old PC, Linux runs really slow. Yes, with 80 MB of RAM, this is too be expected. But Windows 98 ran with acceptable performance. Maybe Red Hat 9 is a much more sophisticated OS?

I like the fact that I can install packages for software development. All the major programming languages are available, free of charge, as well as source code respositories, debuggers and other important tools.

So where does that leave us? Linux advocates think Linux is going to take over the world and boot Microsoft Windows into the trash can. This is nonsense. Linux will continue to have a strong following among hobbiests and also in the business world on the server side. However, it's not going to take over the desktop. I few weeks ago I was talking to a sales rep for one of the big Unix vendors, and he was saying their new Java desktop was Microsoft's biggest worry. Statements like this cause a major drop in credibility. The desktop war is over and Microsoft won. Linux is fun, and Linux is a credible tool for businesses. But most home users will be happy to stick with Microsoft.