Saturday, June 13, 2015

De-evolution of a beard

It's been since November that I trimmed my beard. Of course I kept the mustache in check, but the rest has been free to grow. The above picture was its pinnacle, as I reached the inability to maintain the mountain man look any longer.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Jesus is the head of the church, not men

Most people would agree that mankind is not the head of the church as a whole, but some see a hierarchy in the leadership, placing men above women. I'd like to comment on that, discussing some of my thought's on women in ministry.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Daredevil - 5 and 5

The new Daredevil series on Netflix is incredible. You probably already know that, though. Personally, I never have known much about Daredevil's story arc, other than he was a blind super hero. A cool concept, but nothing I ever got into. I saw the Ben Affleck movie, and didn't hate it, but it wasn't spectacular.

Now this series comes along, and it is great. There is so much that I enjoyed about the show, so, without further ado, here are the five things I loved, and the five things I didn't.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Everything is Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Contemplating these verses, I began to wonder if the principal applied without the word about Christ. A few years ago, through this thought process, I came to a conclusion that everything is faith. Our smallest practices to our largest ideals are confidence in what we hope to be true, and what we hope to be true came through a message we heard, whether about Christ or something else.

It then occurred to me, that if I were to truly apply that message to what we do, then religious freedom means something radically different then what the Christian Conservative crowd has used it to mean. It is not religious freedom we were seeking, but a Christian nation that protects Christian ideals, and shuns the beliefs of anything else. As a church model, that makes sense. As a government for America, I'm not so sure. I desire to be free to practice my beliefs, but cannot suggest then someone else should not have the same freedom, even if I believe their faith will lead them to spiritual destruction.

Two years ago I wrote some of these thoughts down. In them I focused primarily on what the concept of faith means to gay marriage in a America, and atheism dependent on evolution. I shared it with a pastor friend, who didn't rebuke me, but seemed a little unsure of the premise, saying it was something he would have to ponder. I did nothing with those thoughts until a few days ago I found that original file on my computer and read it over. I found I still agreed with the premise, and thought it would be a good time to share those thoughts.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Madden 16 Wishlist

If you read my blog regularly, or know me in person, you will know I run an online Madden League, and have for three years now. We started back with Madden 13 on PS3, then graduated to Madden 25 on PS4 (we didn't skip 11 versions, Madden 14 was the 25th anniversary edition, hence the title change), and are now on Madden 15.

Over the course of these three title I've seen some big changes, some small changes, and some non-changes. There are a number of things I like, and a number of things I don't like. With each new title, you can't help but wonder which things they'll fix, which things they'll leave alone, and, inevitably, which things they will ruin.

EA announced yesterday, very quietly, that Madden 16 will release on August 25th this year, and that more details will come out next month. Focusing primarily on what I want to see in Franchise mode, here are five things I'd like to see in the next title.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Give Your Characters Personality

Some of the best advice I ever read on writing was in the book, "Plot versus Character," by Jeff Gerke. It runs through a gambit of information and ideas on keeping your characters and plots interesting, while not being too centered on one or the other.

In the chapter entitled, "Core Personalities," Gerke discusses the sixteen personality types as defined by the Myers-Briggs (though I often call it Briggs & Stratton) Type Indicator. Basically, there are four categories, each with two answers. Are you more of an extravert (E), or and introvert (I)? Sensing (S) or intuition (N)? Thinking (T) or feeling (F)? Judgement (J), or Perception (P)?

Answering these queries, you come up with 16 combinations of letters, each combination representing a different personality type. In his book, Gerke suggests picking up the Myers-Briggs study from you're local book store, but I've found a better solution.

My new favorite writing tool is officially The website provides detailed information on each of the personality types. What are their strengths and weaknesses, how do they handle relationships, etc. It's a brilliant way to come up with a template for your desired character.

If you've ever read a book, or watched a show/movie, and thought, "that character doesn't seem like the type to do that," it may be because the personality type you were picking up didn't match with that action. Using these personalities does two things for you: One, it gives you a formula for how your character would respond to certain stimulus. You can then ensure the character stays true throughout. Second, it helps you identify holes in plot points. If your characters are making decisions they shouldn't, then your plot isn't strong enough to bring them to the conclusion you need. You can now rewrite with so much more ease.

If you really want to get deep, take the personality test on the website, but do it as your character. You'll find you understand their motives so much better, and then they become their own unique individual.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dragon Age Inquisition: 5 and 5

I have finally finished a play through of Dragon Age Inquisition, and I'm ready to talk about it. I considered working up a rating system, but I don't think that style is for me. Instead, I want to share my overall thoughts about the game with a format I like to call, "5 and 5." I will list five things I loved about the game and then five things I did not love about the game.