Articles by Timothy R Butler

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Ash Wednesday on the Doorstep of War

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:23 PM

An Ash Wednesday reflection in the shadow of war:

It’s 3 a.m. and I’m on Twitter impatiently refreshing, looking for news from Ukraine. I check over on Ukrainian President Zelensky’s account, too, looking for signs he’s still alive and Russia hasn’t managed to find him yet. Probably a lot of you reading this are doing the same. Death looms large this Ash Wednesday, situated amidst the first global-level conflict of the Internet era.

Expires Soon (February 28, 2022)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:47 PM

How do we understand God saying His Word will harden hearts? What does that mean for us?

Songs for Our Temple (Week 9: Psalms 25-27)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:50 PM

Join me on this uncertain week in our world, we turn to the next three Psalms, which remind of us God’s faithfulness to His people.

On the Battle Front (February 21, 2022)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:53 PM

Are we called by God? Do we understand our calling any more clearly by way of Isaiah’s?

Songs for Our Temple (Week 8: Psalms 22-24)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:54 PM

Jim Krenning shares from Psalms 22-24 — some of the most familiar words in the Psalms — this week as we continue our exploration of the Psalms this year.

Filibuster or Bust

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:16 PM

I’m a fan of the filibuster. Here are my thoughts on it:

Joe Manchin and Krystin Sinema are due a heap of gratitude by all of us. Personally, I prefer a government that is stable and seeks to represent the whole of the country and not a specific subset and it is those two, and not figures I’d probably have been more inclined to elect, that are holding to the esoteric parliamentary rule — the filibuster — that offers us such stability.

We Need Icing (February 14, 2022)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:01 PM

How do we understand ourselves in relationship to God? Isaiah 6 challenges us to think about that.

Songs for Our Temple (Week 7: Psalms 19-21)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:21 PM

Melanie leads us into Psalms 19-21 tonight as we continue exploring the Psalms and what they tell us about our God.

Self-Sacrificial Love

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:05 PM

To love someone, and to have those feelings returned — romantically or platonically — is a beautiful thing. And there is much joy to be found in it. But the everyday level of actually loving differs greatly from what has come to be the airy concept of love. Cupid’s bows and love without obstacles make for pleasant fairytales, but real love requires work and self-sacrifice.

A beautiful essay on love, reflecting on one of the best episodes in all of Trek. It nails the powerful picture of love and friendship in “Measure of a Man,” where Cmdr. Riker must take up the role of prosecutor against his friend Data in a place that lacks one or Data will receive a devastating summary judgment in lieu of a trial. Riker has to choose between the comfortable, but self-preserving path versus a deeply personally painful route that offers Data hope:

It’s also about how we love when we are stuck between difficult choices. How we love when that loving gives us back precious little but pain.

We as humans are called to do this, but it is mighty hard. Yet, we learn how to do it more as we follow the Savior who perfectly demonstrates what we can only achieve through Him in this life.

Getting Midnight in the UNIX Epoch from Perl

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:49 PM

Many computer functions dealing with time are calculated in the number of seconds since the UNIX Epoch. I wanted to get midnight tomorrow in those Epoch seconds so that my Bible word Wordle clone Biblicle could say when the next word would be available. I couldn’t easily do the entire calculation on the client side in JavaScript, because when the next word is served varies: if the user is logged in, it is at midnight for the user’s specified time zone on FaithTree (which may or may not match their computer’s time zone), but if the user is not logged in, it will be at midnight Central Time (“US/Chicago”).

The calculation needed to be done on the backend on the server, which is written in Perl. This page had a suggestion how to get the number of seconds so far elapsed in the day, which could easily be modified to instead give me the number of seconds remaining. Problem: I want to calculate on the basis of the local time zone not UTC/GMT. Thankfully, using Perl’s DateTime object, that isn’t difficult:

use DateTime;
my $tomorrow = DateTime->now(time_zone => $timeZone);
my $secs = ((23 - $tomorrow->hour) * 3600) + ((59 - $tomorrow->min) * 60) + (59 - $tomorrow->sec);
$tomorrow->add( seconds => ($secs + 1) );
my $tomorrowStarts = $tomorrow->epoch;

With that little code snippet, $tomorrowStarts will return the first second of tomorrow located to $timeZone and relative to the Epoch.

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