March 26th and 27th will be pretty monumental for the country, regardless of your orientation. SCOTUS will hear two cases this week, on these dates:
On Tuesday the 26th, the court will hear Hollingsworth v. Perry -- "Issue: (1) Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman; and (2) whether petitioners have standing under Article III, § 2 of the Constitution in this case."
On Wednesday the 27th, the court will hear United States v. Windsor -- "Issue: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State; (2) whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and (3) whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case."
In case you did not already know, dear reader, I am both a Gay Man as well as very Religious. I am a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church which does not recognize a marriage between two members of the same sex. But that, in this particular argument, is completely beside the point. Why? Because...
THIS IS A CIVICS ISSUE, NOT A RELIGIOUS ONE
Civics, as (please God) you should know, is all about your rights and duties as a citizen of the State (as in, the general civil government of a country, not as in The State of Wyoming). In the United States, there is no State Religion; our laws and ordinances may be guided by our personal, individual faiths (don't steal, don't kill, don't lie under oath, honor your contracts), but they don't take the tenets of a single faith and impose them on all citizens.
Marriage is a contract between two consenting adults and the State, signifying a domestic and economic interdependence, which help to give stability and foundation to the State. This contract establishes rights granted to the new Unit by the State as an incentive, and responsibilities as a bond of trust between the Unit and the State for the formation of that stability and foundation.
There are no religious overtones in this contractual obligation between the Unit and the State. The Religious ceremony, while often performed at the same time, is separate from the Civil act of formalizing the contract. The lines blur in the United States because Officiants are most often also Priests/Pastors/Rabbis/Ministers, but they aren't required to be.
Yes, it does bother me that my Church maintains a hold on on these archaic, chauvinistic, interpretations of (very proof-texted) scripture, which can be shown to be completely inaccurate through an objective and holistic reading of scripture, but as I said earlier, that's not the point. My church is allowed to disagree with same-sex marriage; that's their right, and I would never advocate forcing all Religious to perform or acknowledge marriages of those they didn't want to.
But it's not the marriage within a Church at stake here: it's the Marriage contract with the State. And in the United States of America, we have Equal Protection Under the Law, and SCOTUS has already declared, in Loving v. Virginia, that "classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law."
SimCity has traditionally been (mostly) a single-player game. I really like the way multi-player has been integrated into this reboot of the series, I just disagree with the decision to tether the game to their online servers when they give you the option to create a personal city region with no one else playing in it. If you’re allowing me to play a “single player” version of the game, why are you still forcing me to log into your servers (beyond a simple authentication… which I would still complain about, but at least it would prevent the 20+ minutes of waiting to play my single-player city experience).
But... fine, whateves. I do honestly feel the addition of city specialization, and resource/research sharing makes it a much more interesting place to play, when you’re playing with people you know (I doubt I’ll attempt playing in public regions). I’m even looking forward to exploring the Global Market some more 😀
All that being said, this trend to tie online game-play to a very public Name, is starting to get on my nerves. Not because of any lack of personal responsibility, but because of the marginalization of gamer households; John and I both love playing SimCity, yet in this incarnation of the game, we each have to buy separate copies of the game, even though we would use the same computer, because otherwise one of us would be online “as” the other, playing games under the other person’s name… quite publicly, with all my friends wondering why I’m playing SimCity in the middle of the day instead of working (yes, there’s an invisible mode, but that’s not the point). What if we had two or three kids, who also liked playing?
Where before, we had one copy of the game, installed on one computer, and I had a login, and John had a login, and each (hypothetical) kid had a login, and everyone could play their own games, with everyone being happy… Now, we have each person needing their own copy of the game (at $60 a pop), despite the fact we’re still all playing on the same machine. The other option is… what, the loss of that online identity completely with everyone in the household playing under a common “house” name? That’s no fun either.
I dunno… I really like SimCity, and I really like the game play of this version. I also really like the multiplayer aspects they’ve integrated from the ground up, so it’s all very natural and works very well. I just really, really wish I didn’t feel like I was being held upside down, having the change shaken from my pockets :\
Anyway.. that’s my two cents. I’m going to keep playing, because I do really like the game play, despite the crap it’s wrapped it.
What do you all think? Is the single-online-identity move simply thinly veiled avarice, or is it an honest attempt to thwart piracy? Do you think this kind of always-on game architecture, even for single player games/scenarios, is a good/appropriate move, or is it just an inevitability we will have to learn to deal with?
A new year is here, and so I'm taking a moment to go over the two routines i've used for a while. I would love to have some help in crafting a better system.
What I've been working with is two routines which switch up ever three weeks ... three weeks on rotation 1, then three weeks on rotation 2.
I work out at my office gym, which is kind of limited in what equipment I can use. We've got dumbbells, and free weights; a bench, and a squat/deadlift frame; medicine balls, and cardio stuff (treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals).
For a while now, I've been working a 4-day split - I have workouts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Wednesday as a rest day. Any suggestions on how to shake things up, or what to add/remove, would be greatly appreciated 🙂
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.
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::
- Make sure your device's syncing software is installed (for my TAB8.9, that was Kies)
- Install the Android SDK
- Connect your tablet with USB cable
- Make sure your tablet is in USB Debug Mode: Settings -> Developer options
- Open a command window, and go to the platform-tools directory of the SDK
- type: adb kill-server
- 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
- Open Unity, and set the path to the Android SDK: Edit -> Preferences
- Exit Unity
- Install the Unity Remote application on your tablet
- Launch Unity
- Hit Play
- 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:
- Plug in Tablet
- Run Batchfile
- 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
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.
"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…”
“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?”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
Some sites for consideration:
The Bible and Homosexual Behavior, SDA Kinship International
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.