Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Christian Theology Board Game Cards

This Sunday I have two more cards which will be used in the Christian Theology Board Game. The first is the first event card made, which concerns the Protestant Reformation. The second is an Issues in Practice card dealing with women in ministry--with this card in your theology, you permit women to become ordained pastors and prohibit yourself from completing the Baptist or Catholic sets of cards. So about what all those numbers and symbols mean: First off is the card classifications:

Events in History cards, like the Protestant Reformation card, cause something in the game to happen. Elements of Theology cards, or all those Issues in Practice and Points of Doctrine cards, are cards that can be incorporated into your theology from your hand.

Second of all is the grey three-letter circles on the Elements cards: GOD is the card's view of God (traditional or nontraditional, to account for how traditional the card's view of God, Christology, etc. is), BIB is whether the card relies on a sola scriptura standpoint or also uses tradition in interpreting the Bible, SAL is the card's view of salvation--whether it somehow relies on free will, whether it is predestined, or whether it is universal, or extended to all persons by default; lastly, STR is the church structure. High means heirarchical like the Catholic church. Medium is like a Presbyterian or Methodist structure. Low is like a Congregationalist or nondenominational structure, where things are very much less centralized.

These affiliation notes help you tell which cards are compatible and which ones are not, which is very important when you are putting together your theology, becuase with few exceptions you are not allowed to break the cards' compatibility.

The fractional numbers that austin asked about tell you which set(s) the card is part of. In the top-right hand corner this is abbreviated just the number; in the part below the grey circles you see a number on top, a number on bottom, and a name of the denomination or group or movement to the right. The number on top is which number in the list of beliefs or practices the card represents. The number on bottom is the total number of items on the list, all of which which must be collected to complete the set. As you can see, the women in ministry card has the "Baptist" and "Catholic" names, but both are crossed out, which indicates that either complete set is incompatible with the card. Anyway, that's all I've got for today as far as the cards go. More to come later.

Good day and God bless!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Three CTBG Cards (With the New Design!)

The Christian Theology Board Game has gotten its final design change for the front-side Elements of Theology cards. Here are two old cards (both of which are Points of Doctrine types) and a new one, which is an Issues in Practice card. I also plan on doing one or two new ones for Sunday.

If you have a question about what something on the card means, please feel free to let me know.

Update: I've decided that since I got up at 5 PM yesterday, I'm just going to stay up and get to bed at a normal or even early time today. That way I'll be able to get up at a normal time for church. Shouldn't be too bad; overall it'll only put me at about 29 hours, a time which I've pulled plenty in the past. Plus, I can take a nap somewhere in there.

Update 2: I'm up again now, and it's 10:43 AM. Now I just have to stay up long enough to get a good night's rest for tomorror. ALSO, I already know that I need to put ex cathedra onto the Papacy card.

That's about all I have tonight. Goodnight / God bless!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Can an Extended Kindergarten Help Kids?

Apparently some schools are implementing full-day kindergarten in an effort to help give students more knowledge. And, although there is skepticism about long-term effects of such programs (how helpful they really are long-term) there appears to be a positive correlation between these new daylong kindergartens and higher reading scores and math scores in the 3rd grade tests.

Check out the article here, and please feel more than free to comment on the blog. We've upgraded to Blogger 2.0 or whatnot. (By comment on the blog I mean the thing linked to as well as the look; whichever you feel the need to pour out your heart about.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Things I Need to do over Christmas Break

1) Relax. It's called a break for a reason, and I won't get a Christmas break this long when I'm in the workforce.
2) Read: There are three books I want to read / finish over Christmas break. One's already half-read. Gilead I'm reading because my Dad is reading Orthodoxy. It's a book exchange of sorts. I know that Neuromancer is supposed to be a groundbreaking science-fiction novel (it's one of the big ones in a genre called cyberpunk, which is generally said to be a science-fiction genre that involves dystopian societies and a noir-esque style). Lastly I will be reading Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, which should be a rather interesting and philosophical work.
3) Play!: I want to hang out with people over break and all that jazz. See some people I don't normally see. It'll be fun.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mary Poppins!

This page got linked at DigitalMZX. Awesomeness. Be forewarned: Your assessment of said film might change after seeing this! (The page that was linked has now been replaced with a direct embedding of the YouTube trailer.

Almost makes me want to see the original, which I think I've seen once, if I have seen it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Recipe for Freaked-Out Parents

To my parents: I don't actually expect you to be too freaked out about this; don't worry, everything will get in on time.

Take one college student with parents living nearby, but not within the distance of same household.
Add approximately one month of procrastination followed by a half-nighter.
Add also relief of student at finally finishing big theology and philosophy papers, although the theology paper took about two hours more into the morning than the philosophy did.
Add also relief of student that his life has stopped sucking for approximately a day and a half; despite the fact that he has vector that will pile up and need to be turned in on Thursday and Friday and will only get about 5 or so hours of sleep tonight, he no longer has to deal with a theology paper hanging over his head. As a bonus, he can imagine his satisfaction tomorrow as he goes to the library to drop off the books he had checked out as part of his theology research--all ten of them--out of which he only used about four or five.

It's 5:21 right now. Can you all tell?

Also: No, I do not plan on making this a habit. I tried that first semester Freshman year and it failed miserably. Note that this semester's GPA, assuming I don't flunk my finals...well I'm hoping for at least a solid 0.2 above last semester's, which would put me at about a B+ average.

I am going to go read some of Gilead and then go to sleep. Good night / God bless.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lots of Fun Stuff This Weekend

There was lots of cool stuff happening this weekend, including the annual theology party and me going to Imago Dei for the first time. Here's how stuff happened:

The Theology Party

So last night I went to the annual theology event known as the Dutch Christmas party. Basically, the chair of the theology department is Dutch, and quite so. And so every year he gives a Dutch Christmas party for theology majors and faculty. This year was my first year going--as a prospective theolgoy major last year I'd been invited, but for reasons I can't remember, I didn't go. Ed, Tyler (not my roommate Tyler, a different Tyler) and I got a ride with my Modern Christianity professor, who is also the advisor to quite a few theology majors, and who herein I'll call the Advisor for sake of not using professors' names.

So we got to his house, and the beginning part was that we hung around for a bit and sampled the sort of Dutch candies and treats that had been prepared. One of them was this thing he (the Chair) called Dutch doughnuts. Apparently the routine with those is that you bite them and you take this white powder and put it on your plate, and you dip the part you bit into the powder and then eat some more of the pastry. It was pretty good. I had to avoid one candy because it had alcohol in it and despite everybody's statements to the contrary I'm not so quick to assume it was baked out.

Speaking of which it was very interesting to be at an event in which students (ones old enough) and faculty were drinking alcohol. I was a bit out of my comfort zone, I'll admit, to be talking with professors and shaking their hands when they were holding a drink in their other hand...Just different.

Some of the professors were really awesome, though, and I got to meet a few of them who I hadn't already, and talk to them about stuff, which was cool. Naturally, at least with me and I know with other people as well, theology was a topic of discussion. Of course it's going to happen when you organize a gathering around people who have what isn't exactly a sizeable major.

I also told my Bib-Trad professor about the Christian theology board game and asked if I could drop by some time to make sure I was treading more left-leaning theologies in an evenhanded manner. She said that would work, which was cool.

One of the professors read this poem by G.K. Chesterton prefacing the dinner prayer, a poem which I don't remember the name of--but it's all about the Nativity, and it's a good little meditation. The prayer was a Catholic one that I didn't know, and I was one of the few people who didn't seem to know it--but that's to be expected in a setting where one is one of the token Protestants. Dinner was self-served, which according to the Chair is a Dutch thing--that it's like your home, but that also means you serve your own food...which is actually quite fine. I had the spaghetti, which was good.

As the last "official" event of the evening, the Chair had all of the theology faculty go around and talk about what they'd been up to that last year as far as publications, books, etc. Then the Advisor did the same with majors, asking for a name, a bit about oneself and a theological insight we'd gained.

So I actually talked about how I'd been dialoguing with Xeirxes on matters of interpretation of Scripture and talking to him about questions he had about the Catholics. (Xeirx is an avid Calvinist, and I didn't mention him by name, partly as that might've required further explanation that wasn't really appropriate to give there regarding things like MZX, and which I've already given to anyone close enough to hear me mention said dialogues on a regular basis. However, I mentioned that the insight had come with respect to the Modern Christianity class, that insight being my learning about the sort of starting points of Calvinism with respect to biblical interpretation and whatnot--and how that had made dialogue that much more understandable. I also mentioned that I couldn't really answer his questions completely about Catholics because I wasn't one. A theology major friend of mine, Matt, mentioned that they could "fix that." I noted for the sake of the group not in on the joke that it was a running gag that I was doomed to be a Catholic someday--to which the Chair responded "you mean Predestined," and a good laugh was had.

After each person had spoken they were given a chocolate letter which I believe was supposed to match the first letter of their first name, although I think that might've been just for majors. (I'm not at all sure either way.) But apparently that's one of the Dutch traditions we did, and it was pretty awesome. After the big speaking time, we hung around for a bit longer, and eventually everybody started going, and the last few people sort of all left at once. Ed and I rode home with Matt--Tyler had left a bit earlier with the "Holy Cross Van"--and we had some more discussion on the way back, which was cool.

Imago Dei

So I went to Imago Dei with a few Mehling people--I'd talked to this person named Laurie about the possibility of going, which was how I wound up going on this Sunday. It was a pretty good experience overall. Apparently their Pastor is on sabbatical right now, which he hasn't taken since the church started about five years ago.

One thing that's sort of different about Imago Dei as opposed to other churches is that it actually meets in Franklin High School's auditorium. It worked out rather well, though. The band that was playing for worship was interesting; they had a guitar, an upright bass that was being plucked, a...I don't know, bass cello maybe? that was being bowed and a violin, as well as a percussionist/drummer guy. It's the first Sunday of Advent, so they did some stuff for that--a lot of stuff for that, actually. They did Christmas music--the first song was "O Come Emanuel" and the timing they chose wasn't my favorite, but "O Come Emanuel" is still "O Come Emanuel", and still awesome.

Then they did a reading, and then they did a song, then more reading, and I think another song...somewhere in there I think there was a sermonette involved. There was also, later on in the service, a five-minute meditation that this guy led where we were supposed to just focus and whatnot, and listen to Scripture being read. I actually thought it was rather good--the guy also made a very good effort to differentiate Christian meditation from the type more commonly found in Eastern religions.

Then there was a sermon about giving, but it was also a call to give. The guy said some stuff sort of like what Pastor Gene was saying, but he instead replaced gift-giving with giving towards needs only, and eschewing wants as far as that goes. As when Gene says stuff like that, I'm not sure I entirely agree, but I do agree with placing a lesser emphasis on want-based giving/receiving and I do really appreciate the sentiment of it, which is that we focus more on Jesus.

According to Laurie the service went about 30 minutes longer than it normally would. Much of those 30 minutes were taken up by missions/donations talk, which was fine. Some of the stuff they're connected to is pretty awesome--like working with a Middle School in Portland which serves a population with many homeless families in it, or working with an organization in Africa which has a goal of helping women get out of prostitution, and actually has helped a few.

At the end of the service (apparently, it's normally near the end but not actually at the end) there was communion, which was accompanied by instrumental renderings of hymns. I forget what the first was, but the second was "Be Thou My Vision" and it was really awesome stuff. Also, taking communion for the first time in months was a very positive experience, and I felt at least that I was generally right with God, which is always a plus when you're taking communion. They did it differently--here you take a piece of bread and dip it into the juice or wine (whichever you're comfortable with; I did in fact use the juice) and then take it.

One thing I really liked about Imago Dei was that they had a very hardcore social action emphasis, a very hardcore service emphasis--not just giving money or even just giving time, but like some of the programs they were involved with, actually trying to help to change peoples' lives. I would of course have to visit them in a less traditionally service-heavy time of year to be absolutely sure of this, but they seem at least from this service as though they might be more service-heavy by default than many other churches around. I think it might be part of God's plan to get me to fix the fact that as far as my Christian walk goes, my capacity for service sucks. I'm already thinking of ways I might remedy that next semester, but I'm thinking that even doing service could be a good thing to look into over the break as well--after all, it is advent.

Anyway, I had a fun weekend. But very soon now (within half an hour or so) the fun begins to give way to not failing at writing philosophy and theology papers which will probably be decent portions of those grades. Thank goodness Discrete Math isn't actually due this week. I might still go to mass tonight; I'm not sure entirely.