Thursday, October 28, 2004

My hair, vows and weddings

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So my hair stylist (yes, I have one) thinks I should let my hair grow out more so I can comb it back like Orlando Bloom. And to this end, I would put stuff like classic wax by American Crew into my hair. My hair!

In the meantime, I'm still on jury duty, and only at the end of last week did the plaintiff rest their case. This is week five.

Five!

My hair!

I was going to take a vow not to cut my hair before the case was over. But the case was taking too long, so I gave in.

Next week my sister, Natalie Ross, is wed to Chris Hernandez. Rumor has it that Chris was thrown out of an airplane for his bachelor party. Natalie's bachelorette party is this weekend. Go to WeddingsInHouston.com and type in "Ross" for the bride's last name and you'll find out more about them and the wedding. And before you ask, yes, I will be allowed to leave for the wedding even if the case isn't over. I don't know if everyone else will go on recess just for me, or what. But in any case (ha!), Jessica and I'll be gone Thursday and Friday next week. If anyone else reading this is going, let me know.

In preparation, I bought an Italian suit in the fashion district of LA's downtown. You can get good deals down there. And if you've spent every lunch break there for the past month like I have, you get to know the place pretty well.

My hair!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Rosa's 60th and John's car goes

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This past Wednesday was Jessica's mom's (Rosa's) 60th birthday and we went to Marie Callender's somewhere near Whittier to celebrate. Don't ask me why, but for some reason Rosa likes Marie Callender's and Carrow's. And who could blame her, with those tasty meals they serve and now $6 pies through October. (Wow, an unpaid endorsement!) And FYI, my dad will be 61 in December. My mom is 56. Our parents are getting up there. However, since my dad's reached 60, I've realized 60's not that old. 80, now that's probably old.

Early this morning some dude came and got John's car. It was all legit. Part of a donation, or so I was told :) The car doesn't seem to work, so we had to push it to Frank's tow truck. They strapped it to the truck, and off it went. The last I saw of it, John's car was being taken to a better place, along with an El Camino. It's almost enough to bring a tear to a glass eye.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The brink of apostasy

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Loosely gathered scribblings.


The trial continues. As I was observing last night, the only place outside of Christian communities where the evangelical language of "witness" and "testimony" is used in society is in a courtroom. And as I've come to understand, you can only testify to what you have known, thought, said, or experienced. You can't mention what other people thought as you're aren't inside their minds.

Let's take a vote. Who believes the Gospel of Mark ends at 16:8? I do. It brings the gospel right up to the present moment. It's a challenge. You walk away from that abrupt ending wanting to know more. And in light of the fear and flight of those first observers of the empty tomb who disregard the angel's instructions, you're asked, What're you gonna do?

My sister gets married in three weeks. Cool, eh?

Even though I'm on a jury trial, I'm also singlehandedly trying to finish the textbook I've talked about for years. You can review the latest version here. It's over 300 pages and has some math, so be forewarned! And still needs some cleaning up before I call it a "first draft." But behold, the end is near.

What does this post have to do with the brink of apostasy, you ask? Nothing. Unless my little question about Mark makes you think I'm trying set up an impromptu Jesus Seminar. I just thought the name was provocative. But maybe Li'l brudder knows more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

cognitive loneliness in the pursuit of truth

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Today I was reading Vinoth Ramachandra regarding discussions about religious and cultural pluralism. He believes that among so-called secularized men and women, such discussions run into some common misconceptions.

Ramachandra discusses some of the misconceptions in the form of an answer to a question. For example, you might look at the diversity of beliefs about the world (for instance, religious beliefs) and conclude that perhaps there is no one truth. Suppose you find someone who thinks they know the truth. You might ask,

'How can you be right if so many others think differently?'


Ramachandra's answer is:

'First, there is the assertion that since we live in a world of diverse and competing truth-claims we have to give up any notion of ultimate truth where our own beliefs are concerned. This is sometimes based on a confusion of the notion of plausibility with that of truth. The plausibility of our beliefs depends on how much social support they receive. For a believer in, say, a heliocentric view of the solar system, life in a society consisting of fervent geocentrists would be almost unbearable. He would be assailed by doubts over his own position. In moving to a society where the great majority share his beliefs, that discomfort would be greatly eased. But these feelings of cognitive ease or unease, and the degree of social support that we receive for our beliefs (which are related to those feelings), are not indicators of the truth or falsity of the beliefs in question. All successful scientific theories were born in circumstances of cognitive loneliness, and the same is true of most of the great world faiths.'

Ethical blogging comment

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This is reprinted from a comment I made to a post by Jenn on her blog.


The question of "ethical blogging" is one reason my style is to not write about day to day events in much detail. Furthermore, if one is in the habit of writing about people, especially friends, there is the possibility of hurting feelings by omission. For instance, "You wrote about the party yesterday, but you didn't mention me" and other grievances, spoken or unspoken. Perhaps this should not be an issue ("it's the other person's problem, not mine" etc.), but my position is not to go there in the first place. Self-control wins out over freedom in that area, even if "all things are permissible" because of course "not all things are helpful".

Far from having the issue settled in my mind, the question of what to put or not put in a blog remains a quandry. A "world readable diary" is a scary notion, a Pandora's Box I don't wish to open. Of course, one day "the secret thoughts of many will be revealed" (Luke 2:35), but are we prepared to face that day this side of Heaven?

You can see the effect of this quandry in my own blog, which can seem impersonal, even to me, not to mention sporadic--I'll feel more like writing when I want to write about some topic which may or may not be related to my personal life.

I sometimes view the blog as a writer might view his or her "opinion column," putting in personal things as it relates to the topic at hand. Other times, I want to give an update of what's happening in my life, so my friends can keep abreast of things in my life. That's the balance I've struck for now between wanting to share and concern over what might not be good to share.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Meditation in a Carl's Jr.

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This past week, I was still on a jury, which will continue this week (but not Monday, for the holiday). I have been going taking the Metro every day, and walking to the Lake Metro station from home, which at my brisk pace is only 15 minutes away. I've wandered around downtown, and have eaten at three different Carl's Jrs.

Other than that, I use my lunch hours to read. I finished a C. S. Lewis book of essays (God in the Dock) and will finish reading Faiths in Conflict? Christian Integrity in a Multicultural World by Vinoth Ramachandra. That book was first suggested to me by a guy in a men's bible study last year who thought it would be a counter balance to the very thought provoking, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington, which I had just read at the time. Huntington's book is an ambitious, influential and highly acclaimed attempt to articulate a framework that would make sense of our post-Cold War world. To get into Huntington's thesis would lead me to far afield. Let me just say that Ramachandra believes that Huntington's thesis is seriously flawed. He believes a 'clash of civilizations' is an unreliable guide for understanding the world in which we live and a dangerous blueprint for Western foreign policy. He focuses on the problem of looking at 'Islam' as a civilizational category. But he talks about many other things, like Hinduism and the Indian search for identity and the 'Jesus Enigma', the current chapter I'm in.

Some other quick things: John and I did a videochat via the web on Thursday night and that was cool. He'll show up again at the beginning of the men's bible study on Thursday. Jenny has the technology too and so we'll probably try it soon. I also heard back from my insurance company (USAA) and they'll be compensating me for my 'total loss vehicle.' I'm glad to say that they will be giving me a reasonable amount of money, slightly larger than I expected from the bluebook price. So I'm in the market for a car, a reliable sedan, say between $4500 and $6500. I may just want to get another Accord (!), maybe a slightly newer model ('97). But I don't yet know. I should price some cars and see what's out there. Jessica and I also spoke with a couple of wedding photographers and I'll be calling one soon to book. Also last week we finished registering at Bed Bath and Beyond but will probably register at Robinsons-May too. Consider the cappuccino machine, and how much you'd enjoy coming over and having a cup at our place.

Oh, and I got invited to a workshop in the Black Forest of Germany for July 31st-August 6th, 2005. It's at a place called the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach and I intend to accept. Jessica and I will be married and maybe this will be a chance for us to visit some of Europe!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Mike's 40th

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big hats, margaritas, etc...


Last night was the 40th birthday of Mike, boyfriend of Jessica's friend Patty. He's the dude wearing the sombrero in the rightmost picture. But everyone got to wear the sombrero at some point in the night. We saw an all woman mariachi band perform at Cielito Lindo in El Monte. Afterwards we went to Dimples in Burbank, a karaoke bar. But it was too crowded to get any singing done.



Saturday, October 02, 2004

Abe Lincoln

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I took that "What Famous Leader Are You?" personality test and they decided I was Abe Lincoln.