Dan’s Online Diary 

# 29.8.03 by Dan
[Garth George...]
... on the failure of socialism, and other human-nature-ignorant utopian pipedreams.
He's the man.

[Counting the Kilojoules]
I have been counting my daily energy intake, as of Wednesday.
Apparently, based on my age, weight and height, if I pretty much sit around and do nothing, I'll burn around 9600kj daily. So my intake needs to be less than that in order that I lose some weight. The figure of 9600kj still seems pretty high, so I'm going to try for quite a bit less than that and see how things go.
Wednesday, my intake was 6360kj, Thursday - 5232kj, and today I have consumed 3427kj so far.

I currently weigh 93kg, which, for my height, gives me a Body Mass Index of 27.5. Apparently 20-25 is normal.
My ideal weight for my height should be 74-82kgs.
My goal is to lose 10kg by the end of the year without going out of my way to exercise anymore than I already am. That way, any exercise that I do perform out of the ordinary will be a bonus.

DietClub.com.au is a very handy resource, with calculators, recipes and an extensive database containing the nutrional data of most food products(its Australian, so some of the food brands are not familiar, but there is and 'Average - All brands' category for most food types).

Get healthy with it.

# 28.8.03 by Dan
[Flash beats]
Check it out...

[My New Browser]
Mozilla Firebird rocks my world.
You better download it and install it as your default browser right now, before I get angry. I'm warning you...

Two points :
- Men and women, by design, are often better suited to different roles, but not always.
- In the grand scheme of things, and for the purposes of eternality, men and women are equal.
I've said it.
Generalisation-free, too.

Knock yourselves out.

# 27.8.03 by Dan
[Un-Microsoft stuff]
Downloaded and installed Mozilla Firebird today. Its much more better than IE.
Its faster, simpler, and it has less crap.
Pretty much like most other un-microsoft stuff.
Microsoft is a bit like the current Labour government. No one knows quite how they got to where they are. Everything else is smaller and faster. They are both buggy and crash your system. Rah rah rah....

[The Italian Job]
I are prolly going to see The Italian Job tonight.
Thats the new one.
Not the old one.
We watched the old one on video the other night. Its grouse. The ending is fully wide open for a sequel, but there just wasn't one. Ripped off, huh?
Well, we'll see what this new-fangled job is like, and I'll letchaz all know if its worth seeing - if you haven't seen it already, that is.

Have a grouse one, 'aight?

# 26.8.03 by Dan
[Its Late...]
... I'm tired and I'm going to bed.
If you have a moment, check this out - the fruits of this evening's labour - and let me know what is good and/or bad about it.
Cheers, and sleep tight!

[GPCNZ site]
Re: the above, if you had any questions:

It is currently based on the existing GPCNZ site content. There are currently a few small bugs, especially when scrolling if opened in a small internet browser window, and I have not fully tested the site in browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla.

A number of key points I considered in designing of the site:

- Simplicity:
I have endeavoured to stick to a maximum of 3 colours, 3 font sizes, one font face (excluding the title bar graphic).
Following the cue of the big corporate sites, such as http://www.microsoft.com, http://www.ibm.com and http://www.symantec.com, I have steered away from Flash animations and animated gifs as these can be distracting, and also affect the speed of the site(see below).

- Screen Resolution:
I have designed the layout of the site such that the reader can see all(or at least, most) of the content on each page without having to scroll, even at a screen resolution of 800x600(which some people still use).

- Speed:
I have used minimal images; only two - one for the title bar, and one for the map. All other colors, mouseovers, borders and formatting are implemented with CSS(Stylesheets), which is much faster than Javascript, Flash etc.
I have tried to keep the image file sizes as small as possible (title bar image is 8kb, and the map image is 11kb).
This site should perform very well on a 56k dial-up connection.

- Recommendations/Going forward:
- Email addresses. Publishing email addresses on websites is becoming a bit more risky these days, as many spammers have 'robots' that automatically troll webpages looking for email address to add to their spam lists. Depending on where the site is hosted, a script can be used that allows the reader to email a specific contact without the contact's email address being made available to spam bots.
- Logins. I'm not sure where the site is currently hosted, so I don't know what can be done to implement secure user or church-specific logins to allow access to restricted material and information, but this is a possible enhancement. I is also possible to give specific people(via a secure login) the ability to manage specific details on the site, ie: contact details, local church news items etc.
- A Logo. I'm not sure if GPCNZ currently have a logo that can be used on the site. If so, it can be added. If not, I would be willing to put together a few quick ideas. I am also able to make up letterheads etc with the logo, if required.

There are many other potential enhancements and/or features that could be implemented going forward.

# 25.8.03 by Dan
Well, I must say, I thought that taking a week off work would have provided me with more blogging opportunities, but alas, the opposite prevailed.
It is highly likely that this has been the longest break in the 8 month history of my blog.
Oh well. I guess a rest is as good as a change, to use the other side of the coined phrase.

[Our week off]
On Sunday afternoon, we went down to Rotorua and just mucked around - looking through shops, walking in the Redwoods etc.
Came back home on Tuesday - prepared to do some painting on Wednesday, and painted Thursday, Friday Saturday. Our hallway is now yellow, like most of the rest of the house, rather that the nasty darkish orange that it used to be. Nothing exciting at all, really.
We all went out to dinner for Muffy's 25th birthday on Friday night. We had a great time - its always good to catch up with people.

[Hot Stuff...]
Muffy's bike caught fire and burned good and proper last week. He was riding through town, looked down, and saw flames. So he parked up in the St Patrick's Cathedral carpark, and went for a fire extinguisher. Not finding an extinguisher, and seeing that the flames were getting pretty big, he called for a fire engine.
It got so hot that the alloy frame melted, and the cobbles it was parked on began to split and crack.
Insurance rocks.
I would have paid money to see it, too.

Adding up numbers is very uplifting

# 15.8.03 by Dan
This morning, I read some of RC Sproul's 'Essential Truths of the Christian Faith'. In the introduction, Sproul summarises 10 key things that are the common cause for the ineffectiveness of today's evangelical Christian. I can't remember them all of the top of my head, but they included such things as neo monasticism, antinomianism, slothfulness etc and I may speak on some of these at a later date. However, one thing that I found particularly pertinent was the Christian's deliberate avoidance of all things controversial. But the funny thing was, the prophets of the Old Testament were nothing but contoversial, and Christ was perhaps the most controversial person of all time. Christians tend to see contoversy as creating arguments, and there are passages of scripture warning against argumentativeness and godless controversy. However, we should engage in controversy when it comes to Scripture and the things of God; we should equip ourselves and be prepared for controversy, for we cannot stand idle as 'truth lies slain in the streets' - peace at the expense of truth.

But its funny really. I only seem to get comments posted on my blog in response to controversial topics. If I write about something normal, no one cares.
Are these comments proof that the readers enjoy controversy, contrary to what Sproul says, and want to be involved? Or is it actually indicative of the above problem, as mentioned by Sproul, and readers are responding only in an attempt to quell any contorversy that might have been stirred up by my posts?
You're the reader - let me know.

I was just going to have a whinge about the fact that I'd been confined to the use of the LoFi interface, when 'hey-presto', I go back into my blog and find the proper UI. Nice.

# 13.8.03 by Dan
[MSN Messenger]
'They' blocked MSN Messenger traffic at the proxy server, meaning we can no longer use it here at work.
Despite the fact that we're not supposed to be using it at work (I have managed to abstain for the last week or so, anyway), many people do use it.
I seriously think they should have sent an email out informing users that it was going to be blocked. But no, the boss said the users can just deal with it.
Parking wardens give you tickets for parking where you shouldn't park, don't they?
Oh well. If he wants the rest of the firm to think we're a bunch of non-communicative facists, then so be it.

... aren't working. Again.

mjhb is in Auckland for a few days. Grouse, bro. I'm good Thursday night if you're keen for a feed and a yarn and stuff.
Wellington reprazent.

[For your entertainment]
Save the planet

[Don't forget...]
...the word of the day, on the 'Links' bar. Today's is 'skulk'. Sounds like 'The Cheat', to me.

# 12.8.03 by Dan
[A Story]
A chap walks into a vege shop, and asks the young shop assistant for half a lettuce.
The assistant says "I'm not sure if we can sell you half a lettuce - you may have to buy a whole one. But I'll just go and check with the manager".
So the assistant goes over to the manager and says "Some moron wants to buy half a lettuce..." and then, suddenly realising that the customer is standing right behind him, he continues "... and this lovely gentleman here has kindly offered to buy the other half".
The satisfied customer leaves with his half lettuce, and the manager turns to his assistant and says "That was quick thinking, boy - whereabouts are you from?"
"New Zealand" the assistant replies.
"Why did you leave New Zealand?" the manager enquires.
"Because the only people there are loose women and rugby players" says the assistant.
"Really?" says the manager, "My wife is a New Zealander".
"Oh..." says the assistant, "... what team did she play for?"

# 11.8.03 by Dan
[Not much to say today]
Tidied up the template for our praise group blog. Its not really officially technically actually live yet, cos not all praise group members know of its existance, but I tihnk its about ready to me to send out the invites.

Had an excellent time at STEPS on Saturday night - it really is a great time of study and fellowship. Maybe I should make up a blog for that too...?

Anyway - time to go home now - talk to you all later!!

# 11.8.03 by Dan
<Stupid picture doesn't work - but I am The Cheat>

Which Homestar Runner character are you?
this quiz was made by jurjyfrort

# 8.8.03 by Dan
[This Week in Review... kinda]
I haven't actually said much lately, have I? - despite all the words.
Upon reflection, I probably tend to agree with matt, in that it is unhelpful to hide behind labels (ie: calvinism, arminianism etc) and argue(if that is what you are saying, bro). It is, of course, more productive to drop labels, and simply(sic) seek to share, speak and live our lives in such a fashion as the truth of our omnipotent God is blatantly obivous. In saying this, I am by not means retracting anything I have said, nor do I see the matter of any less importance, but getting 'tribal' about it is no help at all.
I believe, nonetheless, it is helpful to continue to discuss issues such as these with our brethren, for the growth and informing of others, and for our own desire to deepen our understanding of Scripture. But at the same time, it is unhelpful to be seen by those outside the church as a bunch squabbling hypocrites who can't seem to make up their minds(which is what the greater church is, to some extent). Whether that means this kind of discussion should be removed from the public forum, I don't know, but I must say that I, for one, should probably be more gracious in future (since God's grace is primarily what we are talking about here).

[Crazy Times]
Garth George is a Christian columnist, who is published in the NZ Herald, surprisingly. You really must read this. This is good, too.

[The Om Factor]
I have just discovered the Om Factor, but before I tell you about it, here is a little piece of co-text...
When I was just a kid, I always wanted to be an architect. I was one of those maths-and-sciences geeks, but I'd also discovered that I had a creative artyish edge. These two traits aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but you do tend to go down one path or the other.
Architecture, however, is perhaps one of the few professions where you have the opportunity to exploit both traits in fairly equal measure, so architecture was what I became set on.
But anyway, having an degree of colourblindness, and simply idling through school - passing by the skin of my teeth - pretty well stifled my chances of getting into Architecture school. So now I'm a computer geek.
Anyway, having dispensed with the history, I shall continue.
I've always thought, 'I sometimes wish that the finished development would actually look like the little models that architects build before they get started'. I've always found the smooth white blocks, clean clean streets, soft, even nonexistant colour and lack of detailing to be most appealing. The Om Factor comes close, with modesty being its focus. I can see a little of the Om Factor in the building in which I work - PwC Tower.

[The Jono's not dead...]
I'm over the moon - Jono blogs again. Check out his choices.

If The Cheat can't speak English, who does he get to do the atrotious renditions of the voices for his Flash animations?

Ah well, I best get to work.... hope you all have a great weekend (if I don't post again today).
God Bless.

# 7.8.03 by Dan
[Second Opinion, If You Like]
MihaK has this to say about The Treaty of Waitangi. The initial observation of a new New Zealander.

# 6.8.03 by Dan
[This just in from Muffy...]
You may wish to note that Muffy himself has only recently come to hold to the Calvinist point of view, and was previously 'an Arminianist', so-to-speak.
One of the most interesting things I have come across is that people seem to simply deny what the bible says. There are many texts supporting predestination.

Jacob and Isaac: God loved one and hated the other, even before they were born.
Romans 9:11 onwards…
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls, their mother Rebekah was told, "The older will serve the younger."[4] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."[6] 16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."[7] 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory-- 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Exodus 33:19 says something similar

Israel was not chosen because they had shown any belief in God.
I believe there are many many more examples in the bible. But I don’t have the time at work.

By denying God’s right to choose who goes to heaven, you run into significant problems.

If God doesn’t choose who goes to heaven or hell, but it’s the individuals choice to go to heaven then what happens too all the retards and people, say, in Africa who never hear the gospel - what happens to them ? They must be going to hell? Because no one has preached the gospel to them. So as an Arminianist by not preaching the gospel you yourself are sending people to hell.

Under the Calvinist view.:
God chooses who he wants to save period. So they don’t have to be smart enough to understand the gospel or necessarily have the gospel preached to them to be saved.

The Arminianist view quickly deteriorates into works based religion. “I” choose to be saved or not. (You can’t get any more works based than that!

The Arminianists love their “back sliding”, if you can be unsaved by what you do, you then need to define what constitutes being saved and unsaved. Therefore you must live between theses walls to be saved.

This denies the fact that we all fall short of the glory of god and none of us deserves to be saved and that we are saved by grace not by works. Christ not only died on the cross for our sins, He lived the perfect life for us. If we have to live between walls of salvation we will never be sure of our salvation because we will always sin.

I believe it’s very hard to explain to an Arminianist the light of Calvinism because to understand Calvinism you have to understand many other doctrines of the bible and these need to be understood before you can understand Calvinism.

To me it seems clear that churches that don’t preach any doctrine can believe in this because they simply don’t know what they believe.

Arminianism waters down Christianity and takes the power away from God in many areas and gives it to the sinner. (We haven’t talked about most of them here)

I believe this view is the infiltration of society into the church … where the self is all-powerful; it’s simple rebellion against god.
We simply don’t have the right to choose

# 6.8.03 by Dan
[From Yesterday...]
I've already been pulled up for being stereotypical in my Treaty of Waitangi post, but I have to use 'labels' and speak in fairly general terms in order that people know what I'm talking about.

I guess my struggle is to be gracious. All too often I get fired up about something - I see it myself as black-and-white(whether I'm right or not is a different story), and become frustrated when people either can't see what I'm talking about, or whats worse, they can see what I'm talking about, but continue to hold on to their side of the story despite having sound reason and fact right telling them otherwise.
If you cannot reason with someone, what else can you do? If an arminianist sees a calvinist(I know - stereotypical labels again) living their life according to their beliefs as a calvinist, the arminianist may simply interpret that from within their arminianist framework, and it will not have any effect.

My issue is not with arminianists, it is with arminianism, or in fact, any train of thought whereby man has a hand in his salvation.
As I understand it(please correct me if I'm wrong), traditional arminianism states that God, through the saving work of Christ on the cross, and by His perfect life here on earth, provides the means of salvation, offering it as a gift to all mankind. It is up to man, however, to accept that gift of his own 'free will', and once he has accepted the gift, he is saved, and the Holy Spirit then dwells in him.
This view implies a number of things that I believe deny the Sovereignty of God.
If man has 'free will' then He can act outside of God's will, which I believe he cannot.
If man must chose to accept the gift of salvation, he must have some inherent good, which I believe he does not. The Holy Spirit must first be bestowed upon us by a wilfull act of the Lord before we can choose Christ.
Also, if man must choose his salvation, where then is God's grace? And if sinful man is relying on his own choice for salvation, where is the solid assurance that firstly, he is actually saved, and secondly, that he will always be saved?
I'd much rather rely entirely on God for salvation, than on my own sinful choice.

I do realise that there are two sides to every coin, and that the arminianist view must have some credibility, or it would not have lasted. But I really do struggle with the points as mentioned above.

[Lots of kids]
I often used to see a Daihatsu Charade on the motorway in the mornings with the numberplate : 'DAD OF X'. I guess that it meant that he had 10 kids.
Well, I saw the same car on the motorway, but the plates now read : 'PA OF 11', so they must have had another kid. I'm hoping that the wee Daihatsu wasn't their only means of transport.

[More on Pelagius]
I'd forgetten that just a few days ago I'd read this on John Barach's blog.

# 5.8.03 by Dan
[Arminianism, Predestination, Penticostalism and Feminism]
Many o' you jokers 'ave 'ad the righ' pleasure of meetin' th' Muff, innit.

So we was walkin' up Queen's street 'bout lunchtime, see, and we has a bit of a banter 'bout ol' predestination, righ'...
Anyways, th' Muff was had a bit of a natter wit' 'is mum, see? an' I done had a wee chat wit' one o' th' girls from work, like. And we both bin talkin' 'bout predestination, so's I thort it be best if i done chalked up a bit o' stuff righ' 'ere on this blog, like. See?

Anyway, after a bit of discussion - it really struck me how the Arminian (or more correctly, Semi-Pelagian) views shared by most Penticostal churches are really really dangerous. So much so that I found it hard to see that we (as Calvinists, or Augustinianists) actually worship the same God as them. After all, their God is clearly not Sovereign in the area of salvation - "...[semi-pelegianism] contends that man cannot be saved apart from God's grace; however, fallen man must cooperate and assent to God's grace before he will be saved. Inherent in this view is the belief that man, prior to any work of regeneration in the soul by God, has the power to accept and embrace God's grace." - from Table Talk - Ligonier Ministries, via 'Arminianism/Pelagianism Refuted'.

Should we, therefore, as I have done in the past, simply agree to disagree, and each go our merry ways? Or should we "...snatch others from the fire and save them" - Jude 1:23a?
I would normally use the rule - "if it is not an issue of salvation, then we can agree to disagree". But is this idea, that man must contribute of himself in order to receive the gift of salvation as offered to all men, not the product of a thoroughly distorted doctrinal base? It denys the Sovereignty of God. It makes man out to have some essence of inherant goodness in himself, and therefore lessens the work of Christ on the cross.
People, this is not a trivial matter by any stretch of the imagination.

But how can we confront it? Discussion proves futile, and in most cases, simply causes each party to become more deeply entrenched in their own understanding (or misunderstanding, as the case may be).
Someone who has grown up with an Arminianist worldview, and who is confronted with a rational, reasoned approach to Calvinism may still defy the logic the have before them and cling unswervingingly to their Arminianism.
Its tricky - it means going against what your church teaches - what your spouse believes - what you've always known. I'm not sure how to confront this, simply because this person is already a Christian, so they know the gospel(at least from an Arminianist postion),and are trusting in Christ for their salvation (as well as their own ability to hold onto the gift). Any ideas?

Also, through our lunchtime discussion, we formulated a possible reasoning as to why penticostal(and usually arminianist) churches tend to accept women to positions of authority more readily than churches of a calvanistic persuasion. Calvinism can be reasoned 'from the ground up' - it is generally logical, rational and makes common sense. Arminianists, on the other hand, hold to a concept of salvation, under which most other sound doctine is absent, and at best, crumbly. Arminianism is a nice idea, and can be readily accepted by women, who desire to contribute, as their creator has intended them to be helpers.
But men, who are rational thinkers, may find that if they delve too deeply into doctrine, see the crumbling foundations, and go back up stairs, to continue on with everyone else, but without the solid assurance that they are supported by unshakable truth. Hence the women, who, by nature are stronger emotionally, and less rational, take the lead.

Muffy even suggested the usefulness of writing a book, even if for his own clarification and deepened understanding. Tells us your thoughts. I'd like to write more.

[Also from today's discussion...]
Feminisim doesn't make sense. Think of a feminist - another gross generalisation(for which I am now becoming world-famous, and for which I make no apology) - and you see a woman with short hair, pants(jeans), boots, and the proverbial flannel shirt.
But hang on a minute... I thought feminism was "belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes". But rather than be equal with men, they seem to want to become men? How does dressing like a man in any way portray a desire for equality? Rather, it degrades women. For if a feminist is so anti-man, why on earth would she stoop to dressing like one?
Enlighten me.