This is so shallow and reveals so little about the Christianity Tolkien wrote into The Lord of the Rings that it’s not worth reading. It reads like aThis is so shallow and reveals so little about the Christianity Tolkien wrote into The Lord of the Rings that it’s not worth reading. It reads like a short devotional to which the authors later added brief summaries from LotR. It barely references Tolkien’s own thoughts. It’s much less than I expected for the title and description.
Each chapter is 2-3 pages of summary of part of LotR (in chronological order), then 2-3 pages of shallow application/devotion.
Quote "Many Christian believers at the beginning of the third millenium feel as if they have a great deal in common with the Elves at the end of Middle-earth’s Third Age. Our world is changing for the worse. Many fair things are passing away; indeed, many are already gone. The pall of evil is spreading, growing, engulfing everything. The post-Christian era has arrived and established permanent residency. A few islands of sanity and goodness remain, of course, a Rivendell here, a Lothlórien there, but soon they too will be swept away. We kept up a brave front as long as we could, but the eve of our departure is at hand. … The end is near. It’s at moments like these that … a small voice from behind says, ‘Sam Gamgee’s old Gaffer was right: where there’s life, there’s hope.’ … Suddenly remember we remember: Christ lives. And because he lives, the enemy’s defeat is certain. It's just a matter of time."...more
This is an interesting examination of The Chronicles of Narnia, including allusions and meaning, with deep theological discussions. It also discussesThis is an interesting examination of The Chronicles of Narnia, including allusions and meaning, with deep theological discussions. It also discusses the influences on Lewis' life, and other works by Lewis. Fans of Narnia and Lewis will enjoy this.
It’s a collection of essays by various authors. The pencil illustrations and photos add visual flair. My favorite essay is "Deeper Magic: Allusions in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by Marvin Hinten.
Notes Lewis wrote against indifferentism (that all religions are equally valid) and syncretism (synthesizing elements from the traditional religions into a new, inclusive, civil religion). This plays out in The Last Battle. But, Lewis did believe that God "prizes" those who follow bad causes they believe to be good. For example, Emeth the Calormene in The Last Battle, or Plato.
"The artistry, the archetypes, and the pattern of Christian thought all make it preferable to read the books in the order of their publication "
Deeper Magic: Allusions in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe • Peter, Susan, Lucy may be may represent disciples Peter, James, John, respectively. • "Tumnus" may be abbreviation of Vertumnus, Roman god of seasons and growth. • "Kirk" is old Norse and Scottish for "church." • Maugrim means "grim maw" or "fierce mouth." His name in other editions is Fenris Ulf, where "ulf" is Old Norse for "wolf" and Fenris is a form of Fenrir, wolf-son of evil god Loki. • Aslan is a lion, king of beasts, "lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5.5).
• "Aslan" is Turkish for "lion." • Lewis used Arabs and Turks to represent evil because of the history of the 8th century and the Crusades. • Jadis is descended from giants and jinn. In Norse, giants undermined gods. In Arabic legend, jinn are supernatural creatures who took on human and animal shapes. • Lewis grew up with Norse myth, and spend time in late 1940s rereading Arabic myth. • "Cair" is old Norse for "to go," and sometimes part of place names. Cair Paravel may stem from "caravel," a type of 15th-century sailing ship.
• Lewis said the Stone Table represents the 10 Commandments. • The hill of the Stone Table represents Calvary and Mount Sinai. • The pavilion near the Stone Table represents the tabernacle. • Creatures with an animal body and human had are good; creatures with a human body and animal head are bad. This represents reason over passion. • The Witch’s claim to Edmund seems based on Romans 6:23.
• The big star on the eastern horizon represents Christ as the morning star. • Aslan’s rescue of the statues represents Jesus rescuing the souls of Jewish patriarchs (the Harrowing of Hell). • Lewis uses images that match the setting or theme of the book. For a warm, wet climate (such as Caspian), he uses Greek images. For warm and dry (Horse), Arabian and Turkish. For Lion, with its winter, Norse.
Tolkien • Tolkien literally embraced trees. • Tolkien based Treebeard on Lewis.
Other books • The Keys to the Chronicles by Marvin Hinten • Further Up & Further In by Diane Pendergraft...more
This book about remote work is part advocacy and part basic how-to guide. It’s mostly about remote employees, but deals with contractors too, and mostThis book about remote work is part advocacy and part basic how-to guide. It’s mostly about remote employees, but deals with contractors too, and most of the advice applies to both. I agree with the principles, but it’s lacking in substance (details on practices and techniques).
I read this because my web design company, OptimWise, is a distributed company. My teammates and I work remotely. Given that, I didn’t learn anything groundbreaking, but I picked up a few tips about management, culture, and finding remote workers.
“[T]he key intellectual pursuits that are the primary fit for remote working - writing, programming, designing, advising, and customer support, to mention just a few - have little to do with the cutthroat wars of say, manufacturing. Squeezing slightly more words per hour out of a copywriter is not going to make anyone wealthy. Writing the best ad just very well might.”
You don’t need in-person meetings to have breakthrough ideas. Video calls and screensharing work just fine. Besides, true breakthrough ideas are rare; most work is implementing past ideas.
Culture is about the spoken and unspoken values of an organization, not just in-person social activities. You can have a strong culture without everyone physically working together.
Aim for ~4 hours of overlap to avoid collaboration delays and feel like a team. Working with little or no real-time collaboration is more of a challenge than it’s worth; definitely don’t do it just to save money.
Meetings and managers still exist in remote work, but their time is purposeful and compressed, leaving more time for work.
Remote workers must have a solid command of your home language. Since most communication is written, they must be solid writers.
Get everyone together in person occasionally to put faces to names and learn personalities. Also to talk shop, present the latest projects, and decide the direction of the company. Also, consider attending conferences together.
To keep an open line of communication, have one-on-ones every few months with remote employees. These are casual conversations to ask, “what’s up, how are things?” They usually last 20-30 minutes. ...more
This book explains that people buy from a company because they believe in its values, not because of the quality of its products or services. In SinekThis book explains that people buy from a company because they believe in its values, not because of the quality of its products or services. In Sinek’s words, “People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Customers and employees want to be part of a higher cause (your WHY), so you need to share yours and show how your products or service advance that cause. If you watch TED Talks, you’ve probably seen Sinek’s 2009 talk, How great leaders inspire action, which this book expands on.
According to Sinek, your WHY is your belief. HOWs are the actions you take to realize that belief. WHATs are the results of those actions (what you say and do, your products, services, marketing, culture, etc.).
The book includes worthwhile insights into defining your vision, mission, and marketing. Unfortunately, it’s 2-3 times longer than it needs to be to make its points.
Below are my notes.
Customers Manipulation drives transactions, but not loyal, lasting relationships. That requires inspiration. Manipulations include price drops, promotion, fear-based or aspirational messages, or novelty. Inspiration is the cause represented by the company.
"A simple claim of better, even with the rational evidence to back it up, can create desire and even motivate a decision to buy, but it doesn't create loyalty.”
You can’t differentiate based on your HOW and WHAT (product, service, price, etc.). You must differentiate based on WHY and HOW.
Many companies try to prove their value without saying WHY they exist in the first place.
When selling, share your WHY first, then your WHAT. The WHY (belief) drives the decision, and the WHAT (features and benefits) serve as tangible proof of they WHY, providing a way to rationalize.
Employees Customers and employees want to be part of a higher cause (your WHY).
Companies with a strong sense of WHY inspire their employees, who are more productive and innovative.
"Average companies give their people something to work on. … Innovative organizations give their people something to work toward.”
Company leadership "Companies with a clear sense of WHY tend to ignore their competition, whereas those of a fuzzy sense of WHY are obsessed with what others are doing.”
Most successful entrepreneurs are HOW-types. Most love to build things, not envision them (as WHY-types do).
Sinek's recommended books the works of Ken Blanchard, of Tom Friedman and of Seth Godin The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham Good to Great by Jim Collins The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi E-Myth by Michael Gerber The Tipping Point and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Chaos by James Gleick Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner FISH! By Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen and Ken Blanchard The Naked Brain by Richard Restack Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki The Black Swan by Nicholas Taleb American Mania by Peter Whybrow, M.D. and the single most important book everyone should read, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel...more
I didn’t like this as much as the first two in the series. It’s slower and has too much fluff. The pace quickens in the final chapters. I liked the stI didn’t like this as much as the first two in the series. It’s slower and has too much fluff. The pace quickens in the final chapters. I liked the storyline of Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne more than Rand, Mat or Perrin. As with the other books, I didn’t feel a connection with the latter three....more
An insightful look into the Christian meaning behind The Hobbit. It walks through several lessons: the meaning and purpose of life, providence and freAn insightful look into the Christian meaning behind The Hobbit. It walks through several lessons: the meaning and purpose of life, providence and free will, mercy and pity, materialism and greed, pride, and self-sacrifice and love. According to Pearce, The Hobbit’s deepest meaning is that God is the Ultimate Master who directs all, and turns evil to serve the greater good.
It’s well-written. It goes in order of The Hobbit, and that works well. I think Pearce digs a little too deep for meaning in some cases, making connections that may have been beyond Tolkien’s intent.
I prefer this to The Christian World of the Hobbit. It’s deeper, and Pearce seems to know Tolkien’s works more thoroughly than Brown (based on my reading only these two books by the authors).
Despite the title, it’s not limited to The Hobbit; it talks about The Lord of the Rings almost as much. Don’t read this if you haven’t finished both The Hobbit and LotR, as there are many spoilers!
Regarding the conflict between good and evil throughout human history (before the end of the world), Tolkien said (Letters 255),
"Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory."
I didn’t get nearly as much out of this as The E-Myth Revisited. It has a lot more detail about business processes than The E-Myth Revisited visited,I didn’t get nearly as much out of this as The E-Myth Revisited. It has a lot more detail about business processes than The E-Myth Revisited visited, but much of it applies to business that are larger than my web design company. The conversations with Sarah take up too much space and don’t add any value to the business advice. For this reason, I barely read any of Part One.
There’s not much specifically about the Internet, but the principles still hold.
I like Gerber’s statement, “Your business, not your commodity, is your product.” He means that what you truly sell and deliver is the experience of buying from you, not your product/service. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your business runs smoothly.
Below are my notes.
Enterprise Leader Categorize all your tasks as E (Enterprise), M (Manager), or T (Technician). E work is leadership work; what would be done in a corporate office. All other operational work is M or T work. Organize your day into three segments, and do each type of work only during its segment.
Marketing Leader Language to use for gratification modes (how customers are gratified): • For interpersonal (gratified by interacting with people): use language about people and social situations. • For objective (gratified by objects or data): use language about info, systems, tangibles. • For introverted (gratified by ideas in solitude): use language about how you'll handle details and make it easy, so they can be free from unwanted involvement and pursue ideas.
Language to use for dominant purchase preference (how customers decide what to buy): • For experimental (want new, innovative; often interpersonal type): use language about newness, innovation, cutting-edge, first. • For performance (want reliable, dependable, proven; often objective type): use language about reliability, dependability, quality. • For value (want best price, value; often introverted type): use language about best price, value.
How to write USP 1. Make it short – a phrase, not a sentence. 2. Keep it a vague enough to leave room for the imagination. 3. Convey a positive feeling. 4. Give it impact, punch, and emotion. 5. Avoid defining product/service as a commodity. 6. Focus on the promise of emotional gratification, the result or benefit, not the technical work for features you offer. 7. Make it consistent with the relative standing, gratification mode, and purchase preference of your positioning strategy.
Positioning statement: more explicit restatement of USP. It has up to three elements: • Product: identify the product/service and how it's different from competition • Problem: describe problem, "package" your solution, promise emotional gratification • Result: describe emotionally gratifying result your product/service delivers.
Lead Conversion Leader • Customers want your product/service and a relationship with you, because they need your help to make the right purchase decision. • Be indifferent to the sale, and focus on helping customer make decision. Tell them you want a long-term relationship dedicated to helping them. • In lead conversion process, repeat the emotional message of your promise that you made in your marketing....more
This collection of four fun short stories about Ender and his parents gives interesting background info. The stories are pretty good, but too short toThis collection of four fun short stories about Ender and his parents gives interesting background info. The stories are pretty good, but too short to really get into. Still, they're worth reading for any Enderverse fan.
The Polish Boy This is about six-year-old John Paul Wiggin in Poland. There’s a lot of talk about government and religion. (view spoiler)[The International Fleet marks John Paul as Battle School material for his ability to read human behavior, and he meets Captain Graff during his testing. John Paul refuses to go to Battle School, and makes a deal to go with his family to America instead. The IF knows that later he’ll be too old, but they want his kids. (hide spoiler)]
Teacher’s Pest This is about John Paul in college, meeting Theresa. They discuss the Hegemony and global politics. They believe that the Hegemony’s population laws were designed not for a need to limit population, but to make nations detest it, so it wouldn't last after the war with the Formics.
Ender’s Game This is the original 1977 Ender’s Game novella, which makes up 31% of the book. I skipped it because I’ve read Ender’s Game more than once.
Investment Counselor This is about Andrew (age 20) and Valentine landing on a planet and Andrew having to pay taxes. (view spoiler)[Jane introduces herself to Andrew for the first time, and helps him out of a tight spot. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Rand is less annoying than the first book, but I stA strong second book in the series. It has plenty of action. It's darker than The Eye of the World.
Rand is less annoying than the first book, but I still didn’t feel a connection with him (or to Mat or Perrin). I liked how Nynaeve developed. I was confused about Selene, but understood more at the end. I would’ve liked more of Moiraine (view spoiler)[and Thom (hide spoiler)].
This is a decent but underwhelming SEO guide. It uses the right approach and contains some good advice and resources, but the writing isn’t great. AlsThis is a decent but underwhelming SEO guide. It uses the right approach and contains some good advice and resources, but the writing isn’t great. Also, this edition was published in 2014, but it seemed like some content hadn’t been updated since previous editions, and is outdated. I expected more from Entrepreneur Press, especially with a title like “Ultimate Guide.”
I read this because my web design company, OptimWise, provides SEO for WordPress sites. I wanted to make sure we weren’t overlooking anything. I skimmed some of the technical instructions since the specifics are handled by one of my teammates who specializes in SEO.
Four-Step SEO Process Step 1: Target market business analysis • Website analysis: analyze on-site SEO • Competitive analysis: examine keywords and rankings of top 5 competitors • Initial keyword nomination: create prioritized list of keywords
Step 2: Keyword research and development • Keyword analysis: research competition and search volume to further identify keywords • Baseline ranking assessment: record ranking weekly • Goals and objectives: clearly define objectives (e.g., increase traffic to x, increase conversion rate to y). Start with site-level goals and move to page-level.
Step 3: Content optimization and submission • Create page titles: keyword-based • Create meta tags: meta description, not meta keywords • Place strategic phrases on pages: use 1-3 keywords per content page • Develop sitemaps for Google and Bing: XML and HTML • Submit site to directories: Yahoo!, Business.com, DMOZ, etc.
Step 4: Continuous testing and monitoring • Test and measure: track rankings and traffic, and test changes • Maintenance: add and modify keywords and content, and review link strategy
Domains • Best to worst TLD's: .com, .org and .net, .info and .biz. • Use a domain name that contains keywords and is memorable. Short, no hyphens, 1-3 word summary of site.
Misc. • Traffic and conversions are more important than rankings, but rankings are a good indicator. • To get a site indexed quickly, get a link from a high-ranking, frequently-updated site in your category. Also, add site in Webmaster tools (Google and Bing). • ubl.org will list you on multiple local sites....more
Entertaining sci-fi with interesting future vision, characters, and tech. It didn’t meet my high expectations; I've heard it praised. It was interestiEntertaining sci-fi with interesting future vision, characters, and tech. It didn’t meet my high expectations; I've heard it praised. It was interesting but not compelling. I didn’t like it as much as Reamde, another of Stephenson’s books that jumps between reality and virtual reality.
Stephenson’s writing makes it easy to imagine the people, places, and events he describes. I really liked how the franchises fit into the story.
The end seemed abrupt. There was too much profanity. I found the biblical content more palatable if I viewed it as part of the fictional story rather than presentation of fact....more
The final book in the First Formic War Series reveals more about the war, but has a slow pace and dragging storyline. It’s not as good as Earth UnawarThe final book in the First Formic War Series reveals more about the war, but has a slow pace and dragging storyline. It’s not as good as Earth Unaware or Earth Afire. I was mostly bored by Rena’s and Bingwen’s storylines. I quickly tired of Lem and Ukko’s conniving and bickering.
(view spoiler)[I liked Wit O'Toole throughout this series, and was saddened by his death. I like that the book ends with the creation of the International Fleet and Hegemony. I like that the epilogue sets the stage for the Second Formic War. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
This entertaining book tells more of the First Formic War, which takes place 100 years before Ender’s Game. It picks up right after Earth Unaware. I’vThis entertaining book tells more of the First Formic War, which takes place 100 years before Ender’s Game. It picks up right after Earth Unaware. I’ve been curious about the formic wars since reading Ender’s Game, and it was great to finally learn about it.
I enjoyed seeing Mazer Rackham in action. I found the political elements of the storyline interesting. I can’t wait to start Earth Awakens....more
An interesting but fairly shallow exploration of three Christian themes in The Hobbit: providence, purpose, and morality. It also covers those same thAn interesting but fairly shallow exploration of three Christian themes in The Hobbit: providence, purpose, and morality. It also covers those same themes in The Lord of the Rings. It discusses Tolkien’s Christian faith and how he deliberately wove it into his stories. It’s packed with quotes from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s letters, Tolkien scholars, and C.S. Lewis (Tolkien’s friend), as well as Bible verses.
Despite the title, it’s not limited to The Hobbit; it also talks about The Lord of the Rings extensively. Don’t read this if you haven’t finished both The Hobbit and LotR, as there are many spoilers! This book isn’t as deep as I was hoping, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Themes • Providence: there’s a benevolent force at work. • Purpose: this force is concerned with Bilbo’s spiritual benefit, and uses Bilbo’s adventure to bring good to many inhabitants of Middle-Earth. • Morality: there are such things as absolute truth, objective right and wrong, and personal responsibility. Greed is dangerous and must be rejected. Love for the ordinary and everyday is good.
Regarding providence, Tolkien said,
“The story and its sequel are … about the achievements of specially graced and gifted individuals. I would say … ‘by ordained individuals, inspired and guided by an Emissary to ends beyond their individual education and enlargement’. This is clear in The Lord of the Rings; but it is present, if veiled, in The Hobbit from the beginning, and is alluded to in Gandalf’s last words.”
This is a decent intro to SEO, but it’s fairly shallow. It’s mostly screenshots with minimal explanations. It covers several tools of the SEO trade, bThis is a decent intro to SEO, but it’s fairly shallow. It’s mostly screenshots with minimal explanations. It covers several tools of the SEO trade, both free and paid. It was published in 2013, so some specifics are dated, but the fundamentals are the same.
I skipped chapters 10-12 on the basics of social media and PPC. I skimmed chapter 13, which covers search engines besides Google.
Notes SEO #1 most important factor: quality backlinks. #2: original, well-written content.
Local SEO • Create and optimize Google+ page. • Get reviews on Google+ page. Reviews there count for more than other sites (Yelp, Merchant Circle, Foursquare). • Optimize website for local search. Put city, state, ZIP in header and/or footer, as well as title and meta description of geo-focused pages. • Increase followers on social media. Focus on acquiring those with social influence. Increase follower engagement. • Correct inaccurate location info across web. • Use product/service and location keywords in anchor text that points to your site or Google+ page. • Add business to Local.com, Yahoo, Yelp, YP.com, ReferLocal.com....more
These summaries of popular Greek and Roman myths are entertaining and informative. Included are stories of creation, Jason and the Quest of the GoldenThese summaries of popular Greek and Roman myths are entertaining and informative. Included are stories of creation, Jason and the Quest of the Golden Fleece, Hercules, the Trojan War (The Iliad), Odysseus (The Odyssey), Aeneas (The Aeneid), and more. They’re drawn from many authors: Ovid, Apollodorus, Euripides, Sophocles, Homer, Hesiod, and more.
It says of the Greek gods that “they were a beautiful, radiant company, … and their adventures made excellent stories; but when they were not positively harmful, they were capricious and undependable and in general mortals got on best without them.”
I read this because I wanted to understand more about the many references to Greek and Roman mythology that are woven into Western culture.
Notes Greek and Roman mythology • Silenus usually rode a donkey because he was too drunk to walk. • The Romans adopted the Greek gods because they didn’t have their own definitely personified gods. Their gods were vague, simply viewed as “those that are above.” • Fauns are the Roman equivalent of Greek satyrs. • Earth and Heaven were forces, not living creatures. The first living creatures were the children of Mother Earth (Gaea) and Father Heaven (Ouranos). • The children of Earth and Heaven were 1) huge creatures with a hundred hands and fifty heads, 2) the Cyclopes, and 3) the Titans.
• The Giants and Furies sprang up from the blood of the Titan Cronus. The Furies pursued and punished sinners. • After the gods crushed the Titans, Earth gave birth to Typhon. Zeus destroyed it. • Epimetheus (Prometheus’ brother) gave the best gifts to the animals. Because no good was left for man, Prometheus made them in the upright shape of the gods and gave them fire for protection. • Pandora was the first woman. “From her … comes the race of women, who are an evil to men, with a nature to do evil.” • Hercules was simple and sometimes blunderingly stupid. He was quick to repent, and desired to make amends. He was so confident in his strength that he even wrestled Death. He killed people quickly, sometimes accidentally. • Rome was founded by descendants of Aeneas, a Trojan who escaped Troy.
Norse mythology • The gods know that they and Asgard will one day be destroyed. The cause of good (gods and men) against evil is hopeless. • In the last battle of good against evil (Ragnarok), men will fight with the gods, but will lost. The gods are doomed to destruction by the frost giants. • The Valkyries were maidens who brought the dead to Valhalla. • Loki wasn't a god, but the son of a giant. • Man was created from an Ash tree, and woman from an Elm.
• Dwarfs were ugly but masterful craftsmen earth lived under the earth. Elves were lovely sprites who tended flowers and streams. • The Elder Edda tells of new, eternal heaven and earth after defeat of gods and humans and destruction of present heaven and earth....more
This is a story about being alive and appreciating life. It presents an optimistic view of excitement, levity, property, home, and marriage. It’s theThis is a story about being alive and appreciating life. It presents an optimistic view of excitement, levity, property, home, and marriage. It’s the story of Smith, a man who “refuses to die while he is still alive. He seeks to remind himself, by every electric shock to the intellect, that he is still a man alive.”
As Smith says, “the world, when all is said and done, is a wonderful and beautiful place …”
I liked the thought-provoking moral, but didn’t get really much out of the story. I didn’t like the style (especially Part 2, the trial), and felt it could've been much more concise.
Quotes "Imprudent marriages!" roared Michael. "And pray where in earth or heaven are there any prudent marriages? Might as well talk about prudent suicides. You and I have dawdled round each other long enough, and are we any safer than Smith and Mary Gray, who met last night? You never know a husband till you marry him. Unhappy! of course you'll be unhappy. … Disappointed! of course we'll be disappointed. I, for one, don't expect till I die to be so good a man as I am at this minute— a tower with all the trumpets shouting.”
“‘[D]on't tell me I confuse enjoyment of existence with the Will to Live!’”
“‘[H]e was only our own youth returned.’”
“‘I mean to keep those bullets for pessimists—pills for pale people.’”
“‘I am going to hold a pistol to the head of the Modern Man. But I shall not use it to kill him—only to bring him to life.’”
“‘In each case the scare was so wholesome that the victim himself has dated from it as from a new birth. Smith, so far from being a madman, is rather a mad doctor— he walks the world curing frenzies and not distributing them.’”
“‘Though not an optimist in the absurd sense of maintaining that life is all beer and skittles, he did really seem to maintain that beer and skittles are the most serious part of it.’”
“‘[D]eath was their only chance of learning to live.’”
“‘He lashed his soul with laughter to prevent it falling asleep.’”
‘“I think God has given us the love of special places, of a hearth and of a native land, for a good reason. … Because otherwise,’ he said, pointing his pole out at the sky and the abyss, ‘we might worship that. … Eternity … the largest of the idols— the mightiest of the rivals of God.’ ‘You mean pantheism and infinity and all that.’”
(view spoiler)[“‘Yes, Innocent Smith has behaved … upon a plain and perfectly blameless principle. It is odd and extravagant in the modern world … His principle can be quite simply stated: he refuses to die while he is still alive. He seeks to remind himself, by every electric shock to the intellect, that he is still a man alive, walking on two legs about the world. For this reason he fires bullets at his best friends; for this reason he arranges ladders and collapsible chimneys to steal his own property; for this reason he goes plodding around a whole planet to get back to his own home; and for this reason he has been in the habit of taking the woman whom he loved with a permanent loyalty, and leaving her about … so that he might recover her again and again with a raid and a romantic elopement. He seriously sought by a perpetual recapture of his bride to keep alive the sense of her perpetual value, and the perils that should be run for her sake.’” (hide spoiler)]
“‘He has broken the conventions, but he has kept the commandments.’”
(view spoiler)[“‘It is just because he does not want to kill but to excite to life that a pistol is still as exciting to him as it is to a schoolboy. It is just because he does not want to steal, because he does not covet his neighbour's goods, that he has captured the trick … of coveting his own goods. It is just because he does not want to commit adultery that he achieves the romance of sex; it is just because he loves one wife that he has a hundred honeymoons.’” (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I skimmed this, being interested in Creation, the Fall, and the Flood. I didn’t find it particularly insightful. Hoeksema defends the historicity of GI skimmed this, being interested in Creation, the Fall, and the Flood. I didn’t find it particularly insightful. Hoeksema defends the historicity of Genesis against secular and Christian views that deny its historicity. He addresses some scientific points specifically, but generally deliberately avoids them, as his purpose is exegesis and not scientific defense. The science that he does address is dated, as this book comes from material first published in 1970 to 1974.
Notes Creation The “waters below” refers to all water in the atmosphere and on Earth. The “waters above” refers to water beyond the atmosphere, in objects outside of Earth, or in space.
The “firmament” refers to space.
The image of God Salvation restores the image of God. Rom 8:29, Eph 4:24, Col 3:9-10, 1 John 3:2, 2 Pet 1:4.
Humanity’s rational and moral nature are part of being an image bearer, but the image itself is the true knowledge of God, righteousness, and holiness.
The Fall God’s threat that Adam would die if they ate the forbidden fruit (Gen 2:17) meant that Adam and humanity would begin being subject to physical death, and also die spiritually (become dead in sin).
Satan needed to use the serpent because he couldn’t tempt Adam and Eve from within, since they didn’t yet have sinful natures.
Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nudity because they realized their bodies were now instruments of sin....more
This is a useful guide for intermediate to advanced WordPress developers. It covers theme development, plugin development, and customizing sites for vThis is a useful guide for intermediate to advanced WordPress developers. It covers theme development, plugin development, and customizing sites for various uses. It has clear examples, code snippets, and color screenshots.
Use plugins rather than functions.php in most cases. Only use functions.php for functionality that’s unique to theme (such as layout settings or theme options). Don’t use functions.php for anything that controls output of content.
The Members plugin comes with a role editor, ability to hide parts of admin UI, and can help build a membership site.
I skipped most of this book since it’s for beginners. I skimmed the last two chapters, which get into intermediate topics (theming and CPTs). No advanI skipped most of this book since it’s for beginners. I skimmed the last two chapters, which get into intermediate topics (theming and CPTs). No advanced topics are covered. It has clear explanations and is easy to follow. It has relevant screenshots. The FAQs throughout the chapters are helpful.
This fantasy tale is slow, with little action. Still, it's mildly entertaining. It started out with potential, but never really took off. The whole boThis fantasy tale is slow, with little action. Still, it's mildly entertaining. It started out with potential, but never really took off. The whole book felt like it was leading up to the real story, which I assume appears in subsequent books in The Belgariad. It read like young adult fiction.
I liked Mr. Wolf and Silk. I found Garion disinteresting and often irritating.
Quotes "'Why are the people all so unhappy?' he asked Mister Wolf. 'They have a stern and demanding God,' Wolf replied. 'Which God is that?' Garion asked. 'Money,' Wolf said."
"I don't object to fulfilling prophecies, as long as it doesn't inconvenience me too much." Mr. Wolf...more
This book tells how consultants can forge better client relationships by being vulnerable. Vulnerable, or “naked,” service is characterized by uncommoThis book tells how consultants can forge better client relationships by being vulnerable. Vulnerable, or “naked,” service is characterized by uncommon levels of humility, selflessness, and transparency for the clients’ good. It tells how to be more like team members than vendors. The result is work that’s more enjoyable, profitable, and rewarding.
It explains three fears that hold consultants back, and how to overcome these fears. Written as a fable, it’s short, but still longer than necessary.
I agreed with most of the advice. The main point that I questioned was the recommendation to start consulting in the initial meeting, before arranging an agreement or fees. I can only see that working for certain consulting services and if the client is pre-qualified.
Notes “[E]ven though clients require us to be competent enough to meet their needs, it is ultimately our honesty, humility, and selflessness that will endear us to them and allow them to trust and depend on us.”
Fear #1: Fear of losing the business Don't worry about closing the deal or losing the client. Be so focused on the client’s interests that you stop worrying about repercussions.
Clients want to know you're more interested in helping them than in making money.
Consult, don't sell. Give away the business. At initial meeting, be a consultant, not a salesman. Help, don't sell. Skip the sales process.
Don't start with presentations and proposals. Instead, ask about prospect’s issues, and brainstorm. Do collaborative, real-time client research rather than preparing an answer ahead of time. Don’t try to outsmart the client, just start consulting.
Don't tell what you’d do if hired; just start serving as if they've hired you.
Don't bring up fees unless they ask.
Once a prospect shows a real interest in becoming a client, focus on their issues and determining if they’d be a good client before jumping to sign a deal. Bringing up the deal can shift focus from their issues to what you want out of the arrangement.
Don't be afraid of helping too much during initial sales call. Most clients won't use your advice without hiring you. Those that do would be bad clients anyway.
Err on the side of the client when it comes to fees, to build a long-term relationship.
Tell the kind truth Give feedback with the empathy and concern of a friend.
If you're not willing to tell a client the kind truth, why should they pay you?
Fear #2: Fear of being embarrassed (intellectual pride) Ask dumb questions Don't pretend to know than you know more than you do.
Make dumb suggestions Clients don't mind sifting through some bad suggestions if they're offered with good intentions.
Clients want to hear all your suggestions and want transparency and honesty more than intelligence.
Celebrate your mistakes Admit it was a bad idea and laugh.
Fear #3: Fear of feeling inferior (preserving social standing related to client) Clients trust and respect service providers who act as servants.
Misc. Once you build a relationship with the client, they rarely mention your fees. Of course, some can't afford you.
A bad client is worse than no client, because they prevent you from finding good clients, don't give good references, and make you dread work.
This method will result in getting most of your business from referrals and warm leads.
This method is less professional, less sophisticated, less rigorous, and less systematic, but more effective. Clients will love you and refer others.
Don't tell clients how to run their business, or try to convince them that you know more than them....more
I enjoyed this fantasy tale of mystery, magic, and fleeing pursuit. It’s a hero's journey pitting good against evil. There’s a large world of creatureI enjoyed this fantasy tale of mystery, magic, and fleeing pursuit. It’s a hero's journey pitting good against evil. There’s a large world of creatures, cultures, and places, and glimpses into deep history.
Some parts don’t seem to contribute to the story, but perhaps they set the stage for subsequent books. The final conflict is action-packed but bizarre (deliberately so, it seems).
My favorite characters were Moiraine, Thom, Loial, and the Green Man. I didn’t really care the other main characters, including Rand, the protagonist.
An intriguing exploration of the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini explains six “weapons of influence,” showing how they’re used, why they work, andAn intriguing exploration of the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini explains six “weapons of influence,” showing how they’re used, why they work, and how to resist them. There’s plenty of research and anecdotes. The lessons are applied to everyday life, and frequently to marketing and sales.
The main point is that when we focus on a single influencing future rather than the entire situation, we often respond automatically, leading to a poor decision. Although influencing features can provide shortcuts that save us time in analyzing a situation, we must be wary of those people who misrepresent evidence and use their influence to exploit.
The six principles of influence are reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.
Several of the anecdotes are long-winded.
I’ve seen this book on many lists of business books, and finally decided to read it because Daniel Pink recommended it in To Sell is Human.
Notes Reciprocation Present the customer the more expensive item first, so subsequent items seem relatively inexpensive.
People tend to reciprocate concessions. To apply this, offer an expensive option; when they decline, offer a less expensive option. As another example, ask for a big favor; when they decline, ask for a small favor.
Commitment and Consistency The foot-in-the-door technique: ask a person to make a small commitment, which manipulates their self-image. Later, they’ll be more likely to comply with more and larger requests that are consistent with this image. Written commitments are especially effective.
To get a child to behave long-term, it’s more effective to provide a reason they can internalize and take personal responsibility for than to make external threats.
To test a decision you’ve made (or are about to make), ask yourself, "Knowing what I know now, would I make the same choice?"
Social Proof If you need medical help in a crowd, the most effective option is to be precise about your need for aid. Pick one person, point to them and say, "You, sir, in the blue jacket, I need help. Call an ambulance."
"We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.”
Liking People tend to like those who are similar in interests, background, interest, age, religion, and politics.
"Continued exposure to a person or object under unpleasant conditions such as frustration, conflict, or competition leads to less liking."
Cooperation towards common goals is one of the best ways to overcome hostility between different groups.
People become fonder of people and things the experience while eating. That’s why food is often served when people are trying to influence.
Authority People tend not to question the orders of those they perceive to be legitimate authorities.
A person's title, clothes, and trappings (status symbols) affect their perceived authority.
Scarcity Parental interference make some couples feel greater love and desire for marriage....more
This is a summary of Christian theology by Protestant Reformer John Calvin. I'm a Christian in the Reformed tradition, so I felt was time I read CalviThis is a summary of Christian theology by Protestant Reformer John Calvin. I'm a Christian in the Reformed tradition, so I felt was time I read Calvin’s classic work. I was mainly interested in his explanation of predestination (election and reprobation). I found other topics thought-provoking as well, including the image of God, free will, original sin, depravity, church offices, and baptism.
In most cases, Calvin provides ample scriptural support for his stances. The work is well-organized into books, chapters, and sections.
I didn’t read the entire work; I read only the topics that grabbed my attention, usually because of my own questions or discussions with others. Following are my notes.
Introduction “For we know that in repeating the words of Scripture the apostles were often pretty free, since they held it sufficient if they cited them in accordance with the matter; for this reason, they did not make the words a point of conscience.”
Book 1 God in the OT “We believe neither by our own nor by anyone else’s judgment that Scripture is from God; but above human judgment we affirm with utter certainty … that it has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry of men. We seek no proofs … but we subject our judgment and wit to it as to a thing far beyond any guesswork! … we feel that the undoubted power of his divine majesty lives and breathes there.”
“Inasmuch as Moses published all these things before the congregation, among eyewitnesses of the events what opportunity was there for fraud?”
“Both his fatherly goodness and his beneficently inclined will are repeatedly extolled; and examples of his severity are given, which show him to be the righteous avenger of evil deeds, especially where his forbearance toward the obstinate is of no effect.”
“… God, whose wisdom, power, and righteousness are incomprehensible, sets before us Moses’ history as a mirror in which his living likeness glows. … let us willingly remain enclosed within these bounds to which God has willed to confine us, and as it were, to open up our minds that they may not, through their very freedom to wander, go astray.”
“God did not spare those angels who sinned [2 Pet 2:4] and kept not their original nature, but left their abode [Jude 6]. And Paul, in speaking of the ‘elect angels’ [1 Tim 5:21], is no doubt tacitly contrasting them with the reprobate angels.”
Representations of God “… ‘You shall not make for yourself a graven image, nor any likeness’ [Ex 20:4]. By these words he restrains our waywardness from trying to represent him by any visible image … But God does not compare these images with one another, as if one were more suitable, another less so; but without exception he repudiates all likenesses, pictures, and other signs by which the superstitious have thought he will be near them.”
God speaks against all images (Ex 4:15-16).
“From this [Acts 17:29] it is clear that every statue man erects, or every image he paints to represent God, simply displeases God as something dishonorable to his majesty.”
“God, indeed, from time to time showed the presence of his divine majesty by definite signs … But all the signs that he ever gave forth aptly conformed to his plan of teaching and at the same time clearly told men of his incomprehensible essence. For clouds and smoke and flame [Deut 4:11], although they were symbols of heavenly glory, restrained the minds of all … from attempting to penetrate too deeply.”
“If it were not true that whatever knowledge of God is sought from images is fallacious and counterfeit, the prophets would not so generally have condemned it.”
“Paul testifies that by the true preaching of the gospel ‘Christ is depicted before our eyes as crucified’ [Gal 3:1]. … From this one fact they could have learned more than from a thousand crosses of wood or stone.”
“The Lord forbade not only the erection of statues constructed to represent himself but also the consecration of any inscriptions and stones that would invite adoration [Ex 20:25].”
“… it seems to me unworthy of their holiness for them to take on images other than those living and symbolical ones which the Lord has consecrated by his Word. I mean Baptism and the Lord’s Supper …”
Human nature, the image of God, free will “… even though we grant that God’s image was not totally annihilated and destroyed in him, yet it was so corrupted that whatever remains is frightful deformity. Consequently, the beginning of our recovery of salvation is in that restoration which we obtain through Christ, who also is called the Second Adam for the reason that he restores us to true and complete integrity. … the end of regeneration is that Christ should reform us to God’s image. [1 Cor 15:45]”
“… to begin with, God’s image was visible in the light of the mind, in the uprightness of the heart, and in the soundness of all the parts.”
“Now God’s image is the perfect excellence of human nature which shone in Adam before his defection, but was subsequently so vitiated and almost blotted out that nothing remains after the ruin except what is confused, mutilated, and disease-ridden. Therefore in some part it now is manifest in the elect, in so far as they have been reborn in the spirit; but it will attain its full splendor in heaven.”
Providence Verses that show that providence directs humans: Lev 26:3-4; Deut 11:13-14, 28:12; Lev 26:19; Deut 28:22; Is 28:2; Haggai 2:18; Ps 147:9; Ps 146:9; Matt 10:29; Ps 113:5-6; Jer 10:23; Prov 16:9; Ex 21:13; Prov 16:33; Prov 29:13, 22:2; Ps 75:6-7.
Verses that show that providence directs nature: Ex 16:13; Numbers 11:31; Jonah 1:4; Ps 104:3-4; Ps 103:3-4, Ps 107:25; Ps 106:25; Ps 107:29; Amos 4:9; Ps 113:9; Ps 127:3; Genesis 30:2; Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4; Is 3:1; Matt 6:11; Ps 136:25; Ps 135:25; Ps 34:15-16.
God can’t be blamed for sin Verses that show that God is sovereign over Satan and wicked angels: Job 1:6, 2:1, 1:21; 1 Kings 22:20, 22.
Verses that show that God is sovereign over the wicked: Acts 4:28, 2:23, 3:18; 2 Sam 16:22, 12:12; Jer 1:15, 7:14, 50:25, 25:9, 27:6; Is 7:18 or 5:26; Hosea 8:1; Zephaniah 2:1; Is 10:5; Matt 3:10; Is 28:21; 2 Sam 16:10, 11; 1 Kings 11:31; 1 Sam 2:34.
Verses that show that God’s “impulse” affects humans: Prov 21:1; Ezekiel 7:26; Job 12:24; Ps 107:40, 106:40; Lev 26:36; 1 Sam 26:12; Is 29:14; Deut 28:28; Zechariah 12:4; Is 29:10; Rom 1:28; Ex 14:17; Rom 1:20-24; Ex 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, 27, 11:10, 14:8, 8:15, 32, 9:34, 4:21; Joshua 11:20; Deut 2:30; Ps 105:25; Is 10:6; 1 Sam 16:14; 2 Cor 4:4; 2 Thess 2:11; Ezekiel 14:9; Rom 1:28, 29.
“… when we do not grasp how God wills to take place what he forbids to be done, let us recall our mental incapacity, and at the same time consider that the light in which God dwells is not without reason called unapproachable [1 Tim 6:16], because it is overspread with darkness.”
As Augustine said, “There is a great difference between what is fitting for man to will and what is fitting for God, and to what end the will of each is directed, so that it be either approved or disapproved. For through the bad wills of evil men God fulfills what he righteously wills.”
“His will is wrongly confused with his precept” and “in the same act as man’s evil deed shows itself, so God’s justice shines forth.” Examples: 2 Sam 16:10-11; 1 Kings 11:23, 10:10.
As Augustine said, “… God works even in evil men’s hearts whatever he wills, yet renders to them according to their deserts …”
“In Judas’ betrayal it will be no more right, because God himself both willed that his Son be delivered up and delivered him up to death, to ascribe the guilt of the crime to God than to transfer the credit for redemption to Judas.”
“[Augustine] correctly points out, elsewhere, that in this examination God does not inquire into what men have been able to do, or what they have done, but what they have willed to do, so that purpose and will may be taken into account.”
Book 2 Original sin “‘All creatures,’ says Paul, ‘are groaning’ [Rom 8:22], ‘subject to corruption, not of their own will’ [Rom 8:20].”
Original sin is inherited: Rom 5:12, 17, 19; Ps 51:5; Job 14:4; Eph 2:3.
“For the contagion does not take its origin from the substance of the flesh or soul, but because it had been so ordained by God that the first man should at one and the same time have and lose, both for himself and for his descendants, the gifts that God had bestowed upon him.”
Infants … “are guilty not of another’s fault but of their own. For, even though the fruits of their iniquity have not yet come forth, they have the seed enclosed within them. Indeed, their whole nature is a seed of sin; hence it can be only hateful and abhorrent to God.”
Original sin affects body, mind, and soul: Rom 3; Eph 4:23; Rom 12:2; Rom 8:6, 7.
Sinful nature “Nothing, however slight, can be credited to man without depriving God of his honor, and without man himself falling into ruin through brazen confidence.”
“… free will is not sufficient to enable man to do good works, unless he be helped by grace, indeed by special grace, which only the elect receive through regeneration.”
Other verses about our sinful nature: 2 Cor 3:17; John 15:5; Is 40:29-31, 1 Cor 3:20.
Since Christ restores supernatural gifts (faith, love of God, charity toward neighbor, holiness and righteousness), we infer that these were taken away in the Fall. Natural gifts (sound mind, upright heart, reason) were corrupted, but a residue remains. John 1:4-5.
“… since man is by nature a social animal, he tends through natural instinct to foster and preserve society. Consequently, we observe that there exist in all men’s minds universal impressions of a certain civic fair dealing and order. … Hence arises that unvarying consent of all … mortals with regard to laws. For their seeds have, without teacher or lawgiver, been implanted in all men.”
The natural gifts exercised by both believers and unbelievers are from God. Art and science are natural gifts, because all have them to some degree.
“… we see in this diversity [God’s general grace and natural gifts] some remaining traces of the image of God …”
Human nature can’t know God without God working in the heart. John 1:13; Matt 16:17; Tit 3:5; 1 Cor 12:3; John 3:27; Deut 29:3-4; Jer 24:7; John 6:44; 1 Cor 1:13ff; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 1:17, 18; 1 Cor 3:20; Ps 94:11; Gen 6:5, 8:21.
Those who don’t know the Law (in the Bible) are judged by natural law, or conscience. Rom 2:14-15.
Not all sins are caused by deliberate malice and depravity; some are failures of good intentions.
Human will doesn’t precede the Spirit’s grace. Phil 2:13; Ps 51:10.
Verses about humanity’s corrupt nature: Rom 8:6-7; Eph 4:22-23, 17-18; Jer 17:9; Ps 14:13, 53:1-3; Rom 3:10-18, 23ff.
“In his elect the Lord cures these diseases … . Others he merely restrains … inasmuch as he foresees their control to be expedient to preserve all that is. Hence some are restrained by shame from breaking out into many kinds of foulness, others by the fear of the law … Still others, because they consider an honest manner of life profitable, in some measure aspire to it. … . Thus God by his providence bridles perversity of nature, that it may not break forth into action; but he does not purge it within.”
“… however excellent anyone has been, his own ambition always pushes him on — a blemish with which all virtues are so sullied that before God they lose all favor — anything in profane men that appears praiseworthy must be considered worthless. Besides, where there is no zeal to glorify God, the chief part of uprightness is absent; a zeal of which all those whom he has not regenerated by his Spirit are devoid. As for the virtues that deceive us with their vain show … before the heavenly judgment seat they shall be of no value to acquire righteousness.”
Redemption is by God alone, with no human help. Phil 1:6; Ezek 36:26-27; Phil 12:13; Eph 20:10, 20; Jer 32:29, 40; Ezek 11:19; 1 Kings 8:58; Ps 119:33-36; Is 51:10, 50:12; John 15:1-5; Ps 86:11, John 6:44.
Example of God, Satan, and humans acting in the same event, showing God’s sovereignty over all: Job 1:12-21.
How God works in human hearts God hardens the hearts of the wicked. Is 6:10; Deut 2:30; Job 12:20-24; Ezek 7:26; Ps 107:40; Is 63:17; Ex 7:3-4, 4:21, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8; Ps 105:25; 2 Thess 2:10-11.
“Yet in the same work there is always a great difference between what the Lord does and what Satan and the wicked try to do. God makes these evil instruments, which he holds under his hand and can turn wherever he pleases, to serve his justice. They … give birth to a wickedness conceived in their depraved nature. … Satan reigns in a reprobate man, and … the Lord acts in both.”
God’s dominion stands above our freedom. Examples: Ex 11:2-3, Ps 106:46; 1 Sam 11:6; 2 Sam 17:14; 1 Kings 12:10, 14; Josh 2:9; Deut 28:65; Lev 26:36; Prov 21:1.
Free will God “rewards, as if they were our own virtues, those graces which he bestows upon us, because he makes them ours.” Rom 8:30; 1 Cor 4:7.
God gives the elect the capacity to obey. John 15:5; 1 Cor 3:8, 16:14, 8:7; Rom 9:16; Is 5:24, 24:5; Jer 9:13, 16:11, 44:10; Dan 9:11; Amos 2:4; Deut 10:16; Jer 4:4; Ezek 11:19-20; Jer 31:33; Ezek 36:26; Deut 30:6; Eph 6:10; 2 Thess 1:11; 2 Cor 8:16; John 17:15; 1 John 3:9; Tit 3:4-5.
Good works are called “ours” in the same way the daily bread we ask from God is called “ours”; He gives them to us. (Matt 6:11).
The law The law (except ceremonial law) is still in effect, though in the NT we are free from the “harsh and dangerous” requirements, including curses and death. Rom 7:6; Matt 5:17-18; 2 Tim 3:16017; Gal 4:5.
The ceremonial law is abrogated in use, but not in effect. Col 2:13-17; Luke 16:16; John 1:17; Eph 2:14-15.
Descendents are mentioned in 2nd commandment because idolatry often runs in families. God doesn’t punish for ancestors’ sins, but for each individual’s sin. Ezek 18:20.
Although the Sabbath (4th commandment) has been abrogated, we still need a day to gather to hear the Word, have the sacraments, and have public prayer (Acts 2:42). We also need to give rest to workers (Deut 5:14-15; Ex 23:12). These apply to us as much as to the Jews.
We don’t need to keep the Sabbath, because Christ fulfilled it. Col 2:17; Gal 4:10-11; Rom 14:5. Paul established Sunday meetings for the peace of Christian fellowship (1 Cor 16:2), not as Sabbath replacement.
“Nor do I cling to the number ‘seven’ so as to bind the church in subjection to it. And I shall not condemn Churches that have other solemn days for their meetings, provided there be no superstition.”
Misc. That the testaments are different doesn’t mean God is inconsistent; just that he accommodated different ages and capacities. It’s similar to how a farmer works differently in different seasons, or a doctor treats a patient at different ages.
Christ preaching to the souls in prison (1 Pet 3:19) means that saved and unsaved souls were made aware of Christ’s death.
That Christ “descended into hell” (according to the Apostles’ Creed) means that He suffered the judgment and wrath of God that was due to us. He was punished in soul as well as body. Acts 2:24; Heb 5:7; Matt 27:46; Is 53:5; Heb 2:15; 1 Pet 3:22. This is supported by the fact that Christ feared more than just death (Luke 22:43-44; Matt 26:39).
Book 3 Predestination (election and reprobation) Election isn’t from foreknowledge of merit. Eph 1:4-9; 2 Tim 1:9; Rom 9-11; John 15:16-19, 6:37-45, 17:9, 13:8; Ex 33:19.
The Bible clearly teaches reprobation, and that God wills it. Rom 9; Matt 15:13; Prov 16:4; Ex 9:16; 1 Cor 1:22-28.
The elect are called by grace. Rom 8:29-30; John 6:44-45; Ezek 11:19, 36:26; Rom 9; Rom 14; Is 65:1; Acts 13:48; Eph 1:4.
Election is irrevocable. John 6:37-39; John 17:6, 12; John 10:27-29; Phil 1:6; 1 John 2:19.
The reprobate can’t believe even when preached to. Ex 4:21; Is 6:9-10; Matt 13:11-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:39-40; Acts 28:26-27; Rom 11:8.
Ezek 33:11, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live,” refers to the elect, who alone can repent. 1 Tim 2:28; Jer 31:18-19.
By announcing salvation to all men indiscriminately “… he merely means that his mercy is extended to all, provided they seek after it and implore it. But only those whom he has illumined do this. And he illumines those whom he has predestined to salvation.”
“Therefore, since God’s mercy is offered to both sorts of men [elect and reprobate] through the gospel, it is faith … that distinguishes between pious and impious, so that the former feel the working of the gospel, while the latter derive no profit from it.”
God saves only some in the NT, just as in the OT he saved only within Israel among all the nations.
Book 4 Church offices Offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists (Eph 4) were temporary, for establishing churches and transitioning churches into NT.
Teachers replaced prophets, and pastors (AKA bishops, presbyters, ministers) replaced apostles and evangelists.
Offices of pastor and teacher are permanent. Teachers are in charge of scriptural interpretation (keeping doctrine whole and pure) but not discipline, sacraments, warnings. Pastors are in charge of all these.
There are 2 grades of deacon: those who distribute alms, and those who care for the poor (Rom 12:8). The latter is the only public office open to women (1 Tim 5:9-10).
Fasting Fasting isn't abolished in the NT; Jesus supports it for times of calamity and mourning. Matt 9:15; Luke 5:34-35.
When fasting, we should eat common, simple food and avoid delicacies. We should eat sparingly and lightly; only for need.
Baptism Baptism replaced circumcision. Both have the same promise (God’s favor, forgiveness, eternal life) and regeneration.
Jesus said that infants and children belong to the kingdom of heaven. Matt 19:13-15; Luke 18:15; Mark 10:13. The Greek text refers to infants, not only older children.
The NT doesn't record infant baptism, but implies it when families are baptized. The purpose of baptism is just as appropriate for infants as adults....more
An informative and practical guide to successfully managing website and web app projects. It’s clearly based on firsthand experience with many projectAn informative and practical guide to successfully managing website and web app projects. It’s clearly based on firsthand experience with many projects. It’s a bit dry; it’s not as engaging or entertaining as it could’ve been.
I found it well worth reading, because I spend a lot of time managing website projects in my web design agency, OptimWise. I read it because I saw the founder of another web agency reading it. Following are my notes.
Kick-off Requirements sorting: Write stakeholder objectives on index cards. Give colored dot stickers to everyone (build-side and client-side). Let each person add up to three dots to each idea, where more dots indicates greater importance. Sort objectives accordingly.
Requirements and Scope Stakeholder interviews 1. What are your responsibilities? 2. From the customer’s perspective, what would success look like? 3. What financial goals do you personally hope the website will achieve? 4. How will your internal processes change if this project succeeds? 5. How do you hope the work and skills of you and your team will change for the better after the site goes live? 6. Just hypothetically, what would complete failure look like? 7. Anything else?
User Research Methods • look at the websites of competitors • conduct web surveys • look at other published research (books, websites and market surveys)
“[T]hink about putting the largest part of your time and money into an old-fashioned technique: asking people what they think, one-on-one.”
Ask interview subjects about how they feel about their daily tasks as they’re accomplished. These emotional states can tell you how a process can be improved, or how an online tool can help.
Ask about competitors. “Ask about the subject’s experience of your client’s brand. Ask about what comes to mind when they think about leaders in the industry. Ask general questions about what websites they consider to be easy or hard to use, useful or useless.”
Wireframing Rank info based on user preference, not client preference. For example, about us content isn’t important for most users.
Graphic Design “If you start at the page level to present your designs, clients may feel that they don’t have enough choices to make. Starting with smaller textual or visual modules will make it easier to elicit the feedback that you need. Present the full pages once the overall visual direction has been established. This way you’ll only spend the time building one set of pages, not three.”
Time to Build “Rather than starting with the big visual elements on the page [masthead, navigation, footer], begin the visual design and the page build with the fundamental unit of content.” This is different for different sites – “a magazine site might be about the article text, and a travel site might be about the booking detail. … make the fundamental content unit easy to use and attractive in the page. Build the sidebars and footers and call-outs in relation to the fundamental content.”
Time to Test People may try to add ideas during testing. Remind them that the time to “evaluate the success of particular screens, features and calls to action is after the site launches. You’ll use instinct, sure, but also numbers and metrics to show what’s working and what needs to be improved.”
“Write down what people find, and those suggestions will be the first to go into a Phase 2 of the project. Just before launch … isn’t the time to second-guess. This is the time to make everything work as smoothly as possible …”
Social Strategy You can add social features (such as a Facebook Like button) to the site, “though you might find that people are more strongly motivated to follow your website’s calls to action if you don’t give them such an easy way to engage.”
Measurement “Move beyond page views and visits to judge the effect of the website on the more lasting relationships between people and organisations. This will probably require more qualitative research, like surveys.”
So, Did We Win? Elements of case studies: • description of problems solved • details about the process you used to solve the problems • details about the design and functionality that solved the problems • positive reviews or awards • quotes from client stakeholders and the website team • show the evolution of your thinking and design
Now What? Look for ways to follow up. Look at your Phase 2 log and the things you knocked out of scope. Consider creating a brief while the knowledge is fresh, even if there isn’t immediate budget for the work. The client may hire you for it in the future, or make a referral....more
This book tells how creative firms can win business by being expert consultants instead of pitching. It also tells how to walk clients through the salThis book tells how creative firms can win business by being expert consultants instead of pitching. It also tells how to walk clients through the sales process and how to charge more, and provides other valuable advice. There are 12 proclamations in this "Manifesto of Business Practices for Creative Firms." The writing is intelligent, confident, and professional.
As I read, I kept thinking of ways to use the advice in my web design agency, OptimWise. I found myself saying, "we really need to do this," or, "I can’t wait to follow this." Still, I feel that the proclamations are easier for established firms to follow than those that haven't yet built up a strong reputation.
We Will Specialize The path to financial strength begins with specialization.
We Will Replace Presentations with Conversations Act like a practitioner. "Practitioners do not present. Stars do not audition."
"We will not develop, nor share with the client, creative of any kind before the challenge has been diagnosed and the strategy prescribed and agreed to."
"The tone of a conversation, in which both parties endeavor to make an honest assessment of the fit between one’s need and the other’s expertise, is entirely different from the tone of a presentation, in which one party tries to convince the other to hire her. Presentations build buying resistance; conversations lower it."
"To be truly free of the pitch we must change the tone of these meetings with our prospective clients and move from the presenter/complier role to that of the expert practitioner. This we do as a doctor or lawyer would, through conversation and collaboration and not through presentation."
We Will Rethink What it Means to Sell "We can build a business with enough people saying no to us every week, provided many of them agree to subscribe to our thought leadership and we are diligent about future follow-up."
When a prospect has decided to proceed, and asks for a written proposal containing free recommendations or speculative creative, his primary motivation is fear of making a mistake. If we can see his underlying motivation, then maybe we can find other ways to offer the reassurance he seeks. These may be phased engagements, pilot projects, money-back guarantees and case studies framed in defined methodologies.
The Four Priorities of Winning New Business 1. Win Without Pitching "… secure the business before it gets to a defined, competitive selection process in which we are pitted against our peers and asked to give our thinking away for free. This is easiest when the client sees us as the expert and reaches out to us first. It is also easier when we reach out to the client at a time early in the buying cycle, when he is unaware of any need; and we stay with him as he progresses through the buying cycle, at first helping over time, then inspiring when appropriate, and finally, reassuring at the end."
2. Derail the Pitch "… get the client to put his process aside and take an alternative first step with us."
3. Gain The Inside Track "… be the one on the inside track"; be the one with "inside information or access to hard-to-reach decision makers."
4. Walk Away Walk away when you can’t achieve the prior 3 priorities.
We Will Do With Words What We Used to Do With Paper If the prospect isn’t committed to a future date or event, then "the written proposal is not the tool to help propel him forward. If the engagement has not yet moved from his wish list to his to-do list, then it is still inspiration he seeks. … We are better off in these cases exploring our previous work for examples of inspiration, or examining with him his competitor’s work or other best practices from further afield. Sometimes such explorations merit a small paid discovery engagement, and sometimes they are merely part of the conversations in the buying cycle."
"We do not begin to solve our clients’ problems before we are engaged. … Doctors charge for MRIs. Accountants charge for audits. Lawyers charge for discovery. And we charge for our diagnostic work as well…"
We Will Build Expertise Rapidly "The skills we must possess or acquire in order to succeed in a differentiated creative enterprise are," in order: 1. consulting (problem-solving) 2. writing (blog, newsletter, published articles, thought papers, books, etc.) 3. creative work (often the commodity)
We Will Not Solve Problems Before We Are Paid "… there is a line that separates proving our ability to solve the client’s problem from actually solving his problem. We shall not be lured into crossing over this line before we are paid."
State to the client with polite conviction, "It is our policy to not begin to solve our clients’ problems before we are engaged."
"… we should not progress so far as to share our diagnosis with the client before we are hired and appropriately paid."
We Will Address Issues of Money Early "… we commit to deliberately managing a slow, steady churn of a small number of clients."
"If we were to accept even half of the project work that comes to us, then we would find ourselves aimlessly building a tactical firm burdened by too many small clients and projects, with the commensurate challenges of poorer financial reward and less fulfillment."
For the reapplication work that follows, we are free to charge by the hour. When our clients buy our thinking, however, they need to understand they are not buying it in units of time. It is not until we cease to sell these strategic services by the hour that we can truly charge more.
We Will Refuse to Work at a Loss Make sure every project is profitable. Don’t discount just to win a client, hoping to make profit later. Profit margins usually diminish over the course of the relationship.
Profit margins are highest in the first two phases (diagnose and prescribe) than in the last two (apply and reapply).
"For these carefully selected charity clients, we will work for free. … We will treat charity as charity and not confuse it with business development."
We Will Charge More "For the reapplication work that follows [in the four phases of diagnose, prescribe, apply and reapply], we are free to charge by the hour. When our clients buy our thinking, however, they need to understand they are not buying it in units of time. It is not until we cease to sell these strategic services by the hour that we can truly charge more."...more
A suspenseful, ominous space adventure set 100 years before Ender’s Game. The sense of impending doom worked well. My low expectations were unfounded;A suspenseful, ominous space adventure set 100 years before Ender’s Game. The sense of impending doom worked well. My low expectations were unfounded; I really liked this book. It has good character development, and all the storylines are interesting.
I enjoyed the revelation of more of the backstory of Ender's Game. The audiobook narrators are great.
(view spoiler)[If you’ve read Ender's Game, you know that the Formics attacked Earth twice before Ender went to Battle School. This book is the story of the events leading up to the first attack.
I still have this unanswered question after finishing the book: how did the Formics find Earth in the first place? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Gripping, suspenseful sci-fi about an astronaut stranded on Mars. The pacing is just right, and the details are scientifically realistic (as far as IGripping, suspenseful sci-fi about an astronaut stranded on Mars. The pacing is just right, and the details are scientifically realistic (as far as I can tell). The astronaut, Mark, is ingenious and maintains a sense of humor (witty and sarcastic, and often juvenile). I liked the glimpses of NASA’s procedures and politics.
I wish there had been an epilogue, or at least some details about events after the ending. Also, I could have done without the abundant profanity.
The narrator did a fantastic job with a variety of voices....more
This book is based on an intriguing idea, but it falls far short of its potential due to poor execution. The plot isn’t engaging, and I didn’t care abThis book is based on an intriguing idea, but it falls far short of its potential due to poor execution. The plot isn’t engaging, and I didn’t care about the characters (although I found Lobsang at least interesting). I struggled through until chapter 41, then gave up.
I felt like Joshua in this exchange: Lobsang: “I’m painting a picture for you here, Joshua.” Joshua: “It’s kind of a dull picture, Lobsang.”
The story is about a “tour” of millions of Earths, each a branch on the probability tree. Evolution occurred differently on each.(view spoiler)[ Only a few produced humanoids, and only the original Earth (Datum Earth) produced humans. (hide spoiler)] Besides the main storyline, you also learn of humanity’s colonization of the Long Earth, and how it affected Datum Earth. There are glimpses into pioneer life, hunting, gathering, farming, growing towns, economics, commerce, and politics.
Lobsang gives a good description of the nature of the Long Earth: “Joshua, always remember, you have not travelled back in time, or forward. You have travelled far across the contingency tree of the possible, on a planet where dramatic but quasi-random extinction events periodically obliterate much of the family of life, leaving room for evolutionary innovation. On each Earth, however, the outcomes will differ, by a little or a lot.”
The narrator does a great job.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more