Monthly Archives: April 2006

Them’s fightin’ words!

At bedtime in my house we’re reading Treasure Island. Last night, Long John Silver delivered a brief speech that included this line:

Have I lived this many years, and a son of a rum puncheon cock his hat athwart my hawse at the latter end of it?

Somehow son of a rum puncheon cock his hat athwart my hawse isn’t what most people think to say on Talk Like a Pirate Day. Then you mostly hear “Arrrh” and “Avast” — and maybe, if you’re really lucky, “Shiver me timbers!”
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Beam me up: young James Kirk

According to the evil Reuters Viacom apparently think they can squeeze a few more bucks from the Franchise, apparently:

Daily Variety said the action would center on the early days of “Star Trek” characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer-space mission.

The paper described “Star Trek” as Hollywood’s most durable performer after James Bond, spawning 10 features that have grossed more than $1 billion and 726 TV episodes from six series.

I’m trying to think whether I ever saw Nemesis. I know I didn’t see it at the theaters, but I don’t think I even checked it out of the library.

Young James T. Kirk. I assume the sales pitch sold it as a sort of “Harry Potter without the scar and Hogwarts in space.” With Spock as a sort of Hermione character. Scotty would be Hagrid. Chekov would be Krum. Bones would be, um, someone else.

Cool map of religious affiliation

If you’ve ever wondered where all the Methodists hang out, or Muslims, Pentecostals, Quakers, etc., then you really should go look at the Map Gallery of Religion in the United States. (Kudus to Digg.)

The Presbyterian map is encouraging, because it shows that, as a denomination, we haven’t vanished away entirely. Yet. On the other hand, the places where we have the most Presbyterian boots on the ground are the places I’d just as soon not live. Since my expectation is to become a Presbyterian pastor in the next couple of months, I could wish it were otherwise.

This “fills” me with dread…

According to this story, the practice of dentistry hasn’t always been the walk in the park it is today…

A Neolithic graveyard found at Mehrgarh, in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, shows that Stone-age dentists used to have a go at curing toothache by using drills made from flint heads.

In a word… Yikes! I suppose it’s better than extracting them all and then starving because back then nobody knew how to make mush. But only just barely. My preference would be to take the topical anaesthetic followed by a few cc’s of novocaine.

Turned down

Apparently the region has enough blood, since they’re turning down people who didn’t make an appointment to donate blood during the blood drive on campus today. But they said I could go over to the Red Cross facility (a couple of miles from campus). “They usually can handle walk-ins,” I was told.

I’m sure it would be more convenient for the Red Cross to know exactly how many people will come in.

I’m also sure Wal*Mart would like to know how many blue widgets they’ll sell tomorrow. But they manage to get along without perfect knowledge. And since selling blue widgets isn’t really all that important compared to saving lives, which organization do you suppose would be more capable of improvising, adapting, and overcoming life’s vicissitudes?

It’s not like they were giving the stuff away. Back in 2002 it cost $215/pint. (Or $215 for the blood and another $465 to process it; I can’t make sense of the press release, due not to its writer but its subject matter, i.e., medical costs are involved.)

Finally Assessed!

A week ago I got back word about the Subordination exams I took back in January. (Really! It only takes 7 weeks to process. I’ve sent back rebates on computer peripherals that take almost that long, so what’s the complaint.) And, as the dialog in Star Trek 2 says (without explaining because so much was cut out) “The word is given.” I passed. Yay. Now I can take back all those things I said about these wonderful and judicious examinations.

But even better, I went back to Colo this past weekend and got myself Finally Assessed as ready to seek a call. In my denomination, being a pastor is sort of like belonging to a medieval guild. In fact, it’s exactly like being in a medieval guild. Trade unions have moved on from wearing weird hats and robes, but academia and the church hold onto these things.

Being finally assessed entails defending my Statement of Faith and preaching a sermon. My statement of faith is more or less orthodox reformed tradition lite (TM) so there weren’t any big complaints. But I was told to punch up the section on Baptism a little. No big. I can list the six bullet points of baptism in my sleep and — even better — I actually believe them! I’ll post the final version here Real Soon.

My sermon went well. (I’ll post it here too.) Didn’t break down in the middle and start puking from anxiety or anything like that. There was some controversy about the charge I gave at the very beginning when I read from Scripture. I need to come up with a theologically sensitive charge to the hearers that will alienate neither the wooden literalists of the Westminster Confession (1649) nor the anything-goes hippies of the Confession of 1967 (1967). My best idea so far is something like “Hear the Word of God*” followed by an inaudibly muttered footnote of caveats.

But! The drumroll sounded, I was dismissed into the hall while the panel deliberated briefly, and when I came back they had discerned in community the prompting of the Holy Spirit that I should be moved through this last* step in the ordination process.

*Technically, it’s not the last step. The last step is getting ordained, and that requires locating a church that will call you to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. But you can’t do that until you’ve been Finally Assessed as Ready to Seek a Call. Which I now am.