Through the Eyes of Keaven [insert wit here]

19Dec/120

The Bible, Christianity, & Homosexuality

I offer this with a sincere heart, and in the hopes that even just one person's mind can be opened to the possibility that personal and cultural biases have clouded biblical teachings on the matter.

This was written by the Reverend Justin R. Cannon, and it is my honest prayer that you take the time to read it and allow the Spirit to move on your heart.

The full text of the 50 page PDF has been embedded for ease of reading. There is a download link below it, but you may also download the file directly from Inclusive Orthodoxy, and clicking on the "Homosexuality" option in the nav bar.

Download (PDF, 1.51MB)

Filed under: Gay, Religion No Comments
19Sep/124

Unity Remote for Android

I've recently started playing around with the Unity3D development tool, and I really like it so far! One of the cool features it has is that it's able to build for multiple platforms, so you can cross-develop a little easier.

I have a Galaxy TAB 8.9, so I was looking into how difficult it would be to create a game for a tablet, and since Unity can build for it, I thought "Why not!"

I happened upon an indispensable application for my tablet: Unity Remote. This lets you connect your Android tablet to the Unity engine, and test your controls as you're developing without having to deploy builds constantly!  ::drool::

I had huge issues trying to get it to work though :\  I found a fantastic walk through, and wanted to mirror it here, with just one extra step at the beginning which I (in my total stupidity) did, in fact, need spelled out to me ::blush::

  1. Make sure your device's syncing software is installed (for my TAB8.9, that was Kies)
  2. Install the Android SDK
  3. Connect your tablet with USB cable
  4. Make sure your tablet is in USB Debug Mode: Settings -> Developer options
  5. Open a command window, and go to the platform-tools directory of the SDK
  6. type: adb kill-server
  7. type: adb devices
    You  should see something like:
    * daemon not running. starting it now on port <port number> *
    * daemon started successfully *
    list of devices attached
    <serial number> device
  8. Open Unity, and set the path to the Android SDK: Edit -> Preferences
  9. Exit Unity
  10. Install the Unity Remote application on your tablet
  11. Launch Unity
  12. Hit Play
  13. most important -> BE AMAZED!!

You may have to stick lines 6 & 7 in a batch file and have it run every time you start your computer, or right before loading Unity ... not 100% sure on that part yet :\

==[ UPDATE ]====

It turns out, yes, you do need to restart the service every time you plug in your tablet and fire up Unity. Inconvenient, but not too much of a thorn. Just make a batchfile, then make sure to:

  1. Plug in Tablet
  2. Run Batchfile
  3. Fire up Unity

This is what my batchfile looks like:

@echo off
echo ==[ Killing Server ]====
adb kill-server
echo ==[ Restarting server and checking for connected devices ]====
adb devices
pause

 

21May/120

Three-Minute Fiction – Submission

I participated in Round 8 of NPR's Three-Minute Fiction contest. If you follow the link, you'll notice I did not win. A shameful day for  House Freeman.

If you're unfamiliar with the contest... <nutshell> they give you a sentence, and this sentence must be the first sentence of your story, and the story must be under 600 words. </nutshell>

It would have been against the rules of the contest for me to share my story before it was over, but now that a winner has been chosen, I don't think there's any harm in posting my story here. I hope you enjoy it.

Submission

"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door."

The sentence hung in the air, as the silence that followed made Dave increasingly uncomfortable – his hands still poised at the end of the “picture it” gesture he used as he rattled it off. The Committee members looked at one another uncomfortably, with darting glances to the Chairman trying to gauge his reaction. Dave, feeling the increasing weight of the silence, felt his smile and expression begin to creep from one of proud self-confidence, to more of a tense anxiety.

The Chairman briefly tilted his hands up on the table and asked, “Is that it?”

Dave lowered his hands, shifting his weight from foot to foot awkwardly. He tried to smile and sound enthusiastic again, despite the tone in the Chairman’s voice creating a sea of doubt in his mind, “Well, yeah. See, it’s totally open – both the front and the end are a mystery: Who is this woman? What is she reading? Why is her movement through the door described as ‘finally?’ Writers can take this in just about any direction!”

More silence, save a single uncomfortable cough from somewhere in the room.

“Uh huh.” The Chairman picked up his tablet and started typing; his expression a mixture of annoyed and uncaring.

Dave looked to the other members of the Committee for some kind of reassurance and support, but found only active attempts to avoid his gaze. After a few moments of this, Dave clears his throat with some trepidation, and attempts to state his case again, “Mr. Chairman, sir, if you would…”

But he is cut off. The Chairman puts his tablet down with enough force for the sound of it hitting the table to stop Dave mid sentence.

“No, Mr. Francis, I will not. This committee prides itself on the fostering of literacy in general, and creative writing in particular. This year’s contest was to be something special – to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Reestablishment of Order.” He pauses for emphases. The rest of the committee begins to shrink in their chairs. “All you, and your team, had to do was develop a seed sentence that the populace could then use as the start of their submissions, and you have the audacity to walk into this room and hand me this piece of CRAP,” his fist meets the table with sufficient force to launch the closest water classes an inch into the air, “and expect me to put my stamp of approval on it.”

Dave has taken the pallor of a ghost. Would he but take on the ethereal qualities of one as well, he would have sunk through the floor at that very moment.

The Chairman makes a quick motion with his arm, and barks at the poor man standing at the opposite end of the table, “Get out.”

A last plea; a final attempt at redemption, “But sir…”

“NOW.”

Denied.

“Y… Yes sir.” Dave leaves the room, the heavy weight of embarrassment and shame pressing down on his shoulders. As masked officers of the Order Guard take step beside him, leading him to what very well may be his final moments of life, David Francis hears the echoed voice of the Chairman addressing the rest of the committee.

“Okay, so now what. Does anyone have any GOOD ideas for this year’s National Pride Revitalization contest?”

1May/122

Zombies and Fire

Zombies are undead, with non functional internal organs. They do not feel pain, so fire wont make them stop lumbering towards you. They will continue to walk around until the fire destroys their mobility - which could take upwards of 10 minutes depending on their level of decomp.

Lighting a zombie on fire only creates a mobile torch, lighting everything in his path on fire, potentially creating a burning inferno for you and your once-survivor friends.

Save your fire for the disposal of their re-dead corpses ... or, if you're secure in the stability of your building, perhaps as grenades on the mass of zombies on the street. But only with forethought and caution!!

Remember: The only thing worse then an undead hord trying to eat your brain is an undead horde trying to eat your brain WHILE THEY ARE ON FIRE!

 

Filed under: Zombie 2 Comments
23Apr/122

Alternate Alternate-Day Diet

Maybe you've heard of the Alternate-Day Diet, or the Fast-and-Feast Diet, or maybe you've heard me call it my Salad-and-Cake Diet™. It's had quite a lot of press over the years, so it's safe to say this isn't exactly a fad.

The basic premise is this: You spend one day consuming as few calories as possible, and then the next day you can eat whatever you'd like.

That's it.

There are two major eye-brow raisers with this system. First, if you are prone to eating disorders, this diet should be avoided. It can exacerbate an existing, or underlying, disorder. Proceed in solid self awareness, and with caution. Second, there is no official call for any kind of exercise.

Why do I like this diet? It's super easy to follow, and has actually made me eat better. Here's the thing... by only being able to eat every other day, after about a week and a half, on my eating days, I started craving things like celery, lima beans, cabbage, and pop corn (that last one isn't such a shock.. I love pop corn ;P ). Apparently, with only a limited number of calories coming in, my body began sending stronger signals to my brain for what it really needed.

Just like plants

Don't get me wrong, I still look at cookies and cakes and lick my lips, but it's with less ferocity than when I was just eating whenever I wanted to. When your body dons't know when your next meal is coming, it will make sure you crave what it needs.

Okay, so.. here's what I've been doing over the past few weeks:

Exercise: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - Take Wednesday off to rest. I do primarily strength training / toning exercises. 30 - 45 minutes, each day focusing on two different areas.

Micro-Cal Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - Protein shake in the morning after working out (180-200 kcal), and a light meal at night. The whole day shouldn't total more than 500 kcal.

Normal Days: Called Normal Day because that's what it is. Do NOT use this as an excuse to binge eat. Normal Days are the days you just eat as you normally would. Have your cake and eat it too ;P  In my personal experience, I started to eat even better on these days as my brain was more in tune with my body's needs (I suppose I should say "individual results may vary").

Weekends: Because I try to keep the work-week as routine as possible, having a true alternating-day schedule is impossible for me. Weekends, therefore, are days I try to use my best judgment. Saturdays and Sundays usually find me consuming less than on a Normal day, but much more than on a Micro-Cal day. But if there's a party to go to, or it's one of those rainy days where you just sit on the couch all day, meh, i'm not going to worry too much about it. Just be sensible and conscious of what you're eating. As you begin to recognize your body's cravings better throughout this process, the weekends will become semi-splurge days 🙂

And there you go. That's it. In the first two weeks of following this plan, I lost the 10 Christmas pounds I've been struggling to get rid of. Keep your protein high as you work out with this plan, and you should be fine.

There a many theories as to why this kind of diet not only works, but also helps in the regulation of all kinds of things (like blood sugar and cholesterol), but those are of secondary concerns for me. I just like how I'm eating better, losing weight, and not feeling deprived.

7Mar/122

Gay Adventist

I love the Adventist church. I honestly feel the Adventist church holds the most Truth at this moment in our history. One of the things that has helped us get to this point has been the way we intelligently analyze scripture, guided by the Holy Spirit, through the lens of history and culture. Understanding that God’s instruction, and Christ’s interactions, don’t live in a vacuum, we attempt to understand the message as it was being given, extract the spiritual message, and apply it to our daily lives. Thus, things like the prohibition against unclean foods lose its law-based ritualistic imperative, and gain a tradition-based application symbolic of our bodies being a temple for the Spirit.

There are two cases, however, where the Adventist church completely, and arrogantly, drops the ball with this historical-cultural method of interpreting scripture: Homosexuality, and the role of Women.

I knew very early that I was gay. This did not fill me with dread or self-loathing, however, because my family was rather gay-friendly; my Uncle was gay, and I credit him for “breaking in” my family, making it much easier for me to feel okay with myself. I have always been deeply religious, in general, and strongly Adventist, specifically. As I grew older and began to understand the oil-and-water relationship between Religion and Homosexuality, I came to a conclusion which has become quite popular with more mainstream churches wanting to put on a gay-sympathetic façade: I had no control over how I was born, but I could control how I acted – The sin isn’t in being homosexual, but in the homosexual acts themselves. Sound familiar? I was perfectly okay with this arrangement growing up. All through High School, I was just fine – when questioned by my religious friends, my stock example was, “It’s not my fault if I’m born to a coven of witches, but that doesn’t mean I have to practice witchcraft.” This always brought smiles, nods, and enthusiastic pats on the back.

Things changed once I entered college, and people started seriously challenging my position on the matter. I was painfully aware I didn’t have the scriptural knowledge to back me up, so I decided to take some time, one summer, to dive into the issue and get some biblical support under my belt. This is a key point: I went into this with the notion I was correct, and was simply finding the support I knew was already there.

As I have always done before doing any kind of bible study, I prayed for guidance and support, and for the Spirit to guide me to truth. By the end of my research and study, I was a changed person. This is when I began to understand the errors of the Adventist church on this topic; that they willfully detour from their traditional methods of biblical study when talking on this subject, and choose, instead, the evangelical mainstream God-spoke-in-King-James-English method of direct application.

There is, of course, a lot of religious anti-gay literature that uses lots and lots of biblical quotes to support their position. There are, also, a lot of pro-gay literature that debunks all of those biblical quotes, and attempts to make it seem like there’s never been anything wrong with it. What moved me the most, however, was an article written by one Walter Wink. His “Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality” and “Homosexuality and the Bible” do point out errors in the anti-gay rhetoric, but it also admits that yes, in fact, there is clear language, no matter the translation, condemning male-on-male sexual encounters. “But so what,” I paraphrase, “there are plenty of sex-things the bible wags its finger at which we allow today; and, conversely, that the bible allows, but we wag our finger at today.”

For example, virtually all modern readers would agree with the Bible in rejecting: incest, rape, adultery, and intercourse with animals.

But we disagree with the Bible on most other sexual mores. The Bible condemned the following behaviors which we generally allow: intercourse during menstruation, celibacy, exogamy (marriage with non-Jews), naming sexual organs, nudity (under certain conditions), masturbation (some Christians still condemn this), birth control (some Christians still forbid this). And the Bible regarded semen and menstrual blood as unclean, which most of us do not.

Likewise, the Bible permitted behaviors that we today condemn: prostitution, polygamy, levirate marriage, sex with slaves, concubinage, treatment of women as property, and very early marriage (for the girl, age 11-13). And while the Old Testament accepted divorce, Jesus forbade it.

In short, of the sexual mores mentioned here, we only agree with the Bible on four of them, and disagree with it on sixteen!

- http://www.bridges-across.org/ba/winkhombib.htm#problem

This is when I began to see the error of the traditional Adventist stance – they were ignoring, for this particular issue, the spirit of what was being taught, and focused instead on the words. I attribute this to the very subconscious fear of emasculation that most men feel; and since they’re the ones with the power, they have controlled the dominant cultural stigma against homosexuals: “you make me feel uncomfortable, therefore you must be evil.”

Growing up in the Adventist church, I have seen everything from extreme bigots attempting to quite literally evict me out of town (while I attended SVA), to companionate and unconditional acceptance (granted, it was the Music Department at CUC, so I guess that’s kind of falling into the stereotype… hahahaha). The most heartbreaking experience for me (other than New Market waving pitchforks and torches at my door) was when I found a very small Adventist congregation in Waldorf, MD. They were super friendly, and welcomed me with open arms. I’ve never been one to deny or actively hide my sexuality, but I also don’t go around actively trying to make people feel uncomfortable either; I try to be sensitive to my surroundings, and act accordingly, so I’m not sure exactly how they ended up finding out I was gay. They had, however, and one Sabbath the tone and feel of the church was the polar opposite of how it had been the week before: no one talked to me, no one sat in the same pew as me, and the sermon was old-school fire and brimstone gays are going to hell. The subtlety was not lost on me. Nor was mine on them. I slammed my bible shut, the thud echoing in the small stone sanctuary, and I stood up and walked out. I never went back, and they never inquired after me (a stark reversal from when I was sick one week and got no fewer than a dozen members and even the head pastor checking in on me to make sure I was okay). They made it clear I was not welcome, and that my very nature was an affront to their sensibilities as Adventists.

This whole thing is so perplexing to me. How can we, as a church who prides themselves on our ability to hold the Truth, so willfully turn a blind eye to an issue that is so clearly a cultural misunderstanding? I am neither a temple prostitute, nor heterosexual acting against my nature. So… why are you harassing me?

It gets better though. Seriously... it really does:

It Gets Better (for Adventists too) - Extended Version from Stephen Eyer on Vimeo.

Some sites for consideration:

Homosexuality and the Bible and Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality, by Walter Wink - Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Auburn Theological Seminary, New York City

The Bible and Homosexual Behavior, SDA Kinship International

Filed under: Gay, Religion 2 Comments
22Feb/127

Lent

As a Seventh-Day Adventist, I do not participate in the celebrations of Ash Wednesday, nor do I observe Lent. The Adventist Church, in general, does not observe Lent, though I have not been able to find any official statement addressing the question.

What I have always been told, however, is Lent falls into the category of Liturgical Rituals, outside of any scriptural definition or directive to observe. Other festivals/celebrations in this category would be Christmas, and Easter.

One particular blog post I read earlier stated the Adventist Church was somewhat hypocritical, since it recognizes Christmas and Easter, but refuses Lent. Well... here's the thing. First of all, the Adventist Church doesn't have a liturgical calendar in the traditional sense of the idea. We don't officially call out Christmas as the time of Christ's birth, or Easter as the time of Christ's death. Why not? Two reasons: one, we have no idea what on what days those two events actually occurred; two, there is no scriptural mandate to observe these days as religious holidays (if there were, we would know the dates to use). That being said, nearly all Adventist do celebrate those holidays in recognition of what they stand for spiritually.

Lent, however, is a little different. While there is no scriptural mandate for its observance, it differs from Christmas and Easter in that there are some Old Testament parallels. "What?" I hear you exclaim, "Then Adventist should be all over that, right? I mean, they totally love Old Testament stuff!" You are correct, insightful reader,  the Adventist Church does in fact hold the Old Testament near and dear to its heart. Which, ultimately, is Lent's own downfall.

The sacrificial ceremonies and festivals of the Old Testament were to remind God's people of the coming savior. They typified Christ's work of Salvation here on earth, and symbolized His sacrifice on our behalf. As such, these sacrifices were no longer needed once Christ fulfilled them -which is why the veil in the temple ripped in two at the moment of His death. Today, there is no need to take on ritualistic personal sacrifice, because that was done by Christ already. In doing it ourselves, we mock the work He did on the cross.

This is not to say there is no place for fasting; indeed, there are biblical instructions to do so when supplicating oneself before God. What I'm talking about here with Lent, is the notion of taking the mantle of sacrifice upon your own shoulders in a ritualistic fashion. This is very different from biblical instructions on fasting and prayer as ways to reach spiritual harmony. The latter is self imposed out of a desire to bring oneself closer to God, using instructions He left for us to follow; the former is imposed by the church in an attempt to force some kind of empathy with Christ's work of Salvation, outside of any scriptural instruction to do so.

"Hold on," I hear you say, "But the Adventist Church is all about ritualized self sacrifice! You don't drink, you don't smoke, you have all kinds of dietary restrictions... come on, aren't you being a little hypocritical yourself here?"

A valid question. I would argue, however, that these all fall under a general umbrella of Life Style Choices, where we, as a denomination, view the human body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are not our own, but a vessel of the Spirit, and as such, we have a responsibility to keep it as healthy as possible. These being Life Style Choices, I do not see them being the same as ritualistic fasting and sacrifice designed to emphasize a single point within a microcosm of the liturgical calendar.

But then... that's just me. Since, as I stated before, the Adventist Church has no liturgical calendar, there is only the absence of any formal observance; There is no official condemnation of Lent, merely the oral tradition of why we don't observe it. As such, there have been some Adventist Churches who have started holding Ash Wednesday services, and instructing their congregations to observe the Lent season.

I, however, continue to agree with the more traditional Adventist view that Lent is unnecessary as it puts undue emphasis on ritualized personal sacrifice, which devalues the sacrificial work of Christ.

Filed under: Religion 7 Comments
15Feb/120

Blogging and Research

I'll admit it: I'm a lousy blogger :\  One need only look at the dates on my last few posts to see that I very rarely post anything; and lately, when I do, it's been lacking in any real content. So very sad .. *sigh*

The number one hurdle for me is Research. If there's some topic I feel hot-blooded enough about, so that I want to sit down and get my own view on the subject posted in a blog entry, I can't just spew my own feelings onto the page without first doing research on the topic. I am compelled to use the correct lingo, have the right buzz-words, define terms, and link to outside sources of information when I make reference to them.

All those things make for a great post, I'm sure, but they're also very time consuming ... for me, anyway.

For example, a few topics I've been wanting to get down on 'paper' are: The Occupy Movement; Homosexuality, Scripture, and Modern Organized Religion; Morally Centered Lawmaking vs. Theocracy; Sabbath Worship in an Apostate Sunday World.  Sheesh... not that I have any overblown sense of  importance, thinking that the public is just desperate for my personal slant on things, but a blog is a blog is a blog, mirite? And if I'm going to spew my own thoughts on a subject, I should have decency to present the reader with at least as much information as *I* had when formulating my own opinion.

So... yeah, there you go. Just a quick post to help explain why my posting has been pretty slow of late.

Filed under: Personal News No Comments
7Feb/121

Can’t Sleep

I ... ... I just can't sleep. I need to, I know this, but I just can't.

There are so many things going on - so many games to play ... Star Wars the Old Republic, Star Trek Online, Warhammer Online, Battlefield 3.. oh, and I haven't finished Skyrim yet. UGH!!!! :\

No.. I must go to sleep. I *will* go to sleep... right after I turn this quest in, i SWEAR!

Filed under: Gaming 1 Comment
26Dec/110

Christmas 2011

Christmas this year has been really great so far. I say "so far" because Chrsitmastide STARTS on with Christmas Day on December 25th, and lasts through Epiphany on January 6th - Thus, the 12 Days of Christmas.

I come from a somewhat large family, with many uncles, aunts, and cousins. When I was  a kid, we started breaking up our Christmas celebrations into two events: On Christmas Eve, everyone would gather at my grandparents' house for a big family dinner, and some exchanging of gifts. This was quite the event, due to all the people involved. Lots of food, lots of merriment, and lots of laughter.

The next morning, Christmas Day, has always been for the nuclear family. My brother and I would wake up mom and dad, and rush to the stockings to see what Santa brought us. It was great fun.

Over the years, after having shared Christmas with the families of various friends and significant others, I've come to see how different families "do" Christmas. I think the one thing that has fascinated me the most has been The Opening of Gifts. Opening gifts takes a very long time in my family. Not because there is an overabundance of gifts or people, but because of how we've always done it - One person, and only one person, opens a gift, takes it out of the box, passes it around so everyone can get a look at it, plays with it for a while or tries it on or pantomimes it's actual use or whatever. Then it gets put to the side, and then it's the next persons turn to open a gift. You can imagine my shock when, after experiencing gift opening in this way for all my life, suddenly finding myself in situations where people all just grab gifts and begin tearing into them all at the same time, like a gift wrap tearing version of a 21 gun salute.

These days, the extended family is just about all long-distance. My mom, dad, brother, and boyfriend John (notice how the Oxford comma prevents that list from being awkward) all gather at my Grandmother's house on Christmas Eve. It's just us these days, so there's not big family feast. We've modified our tradition to be a simple buffet of finger foods and crudité. Then John and I hit the road, on Christmas Day, and go down to visit with John's family for a few days.

John's mom only had dial-up for the longest time down here, but finally came into the high-speed world this last year! Which is why I'm able to sit here and write this post from my laptop while sitting at the dining room table!  Oh, and play SWTOR until my laptop locks up from overheating.. hehe ;P

Filed under: Family No Comments