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40 Questions

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:11 PM

1. What time is it: 11:36 a.m.
2. Name as it appears on birth certificate: Timothy Ryan Butler.
3. Nicknames: No “true” nicknames. Just call me Tim.
4. Piercing: None — I avoid pain and things like needles that bring pain.
5. What is the most recent movie you've seen in the theatre? The Incredibles
6. Eye color: Blueish.
7. Place of birth: St. Charles, Missouri
8. Favorite foods: Potatoes, pizza and other things that insure I'll never become an Atkins-ite.
9. Ever been to Africa: No, and I don't have a desire to, other than perhaps to see Egypt.
10. Ever been toilet papering: No.
11. Love someone so much it made you cry: Yes.
12. Been in a car accident: Yes, but (thankfully, thus far) not when I was driving.
13. Croutons or bacon bits: Bacon bits, unless they are really good croutons.
14 Favorite day of the week? Friday — the only day of the week I don't have to worry about getting up at a given time the next morning. This past week I enjoyed reading the Da Vinci Code until about 1:30 A.M., something I can't do on other days.
15. Favorite restaurants: Lewis & Clark's (St. Charles), Faraci's Pizza (Manchester), Wooden Nickel (Branson), Devil's Pool at Big Cedar (Ridgedale [Branson area]), Red Lobster, Hen House (Bourbon).
16. Favorite flower: Star gazer lilies, irises…
17. Favorite sport to watch: None, but if I must pick, I guess baseball. Unless I can just say “Winter Olympics.”
18. Favorite drink: Water (followed by coffee and iced tea).
19. Favorite ice cream: Freshly made. Chocolate, real vanilla bean, blackberry and the like are all good. My favorite ice cream treat is a chocolate ice cream soda, however.
21. Favorite fast food restaurant: There is only one possibility for such an obvious question… White Castle.
22. Color of bedroom carpeting? Green
23. How many times did you fail your driving test? None.
24. Before this one, from whom did you get your last email? My mother.
25. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card: I wouldn't purposely max out my credit card just to max it out (I have used the full credit of it once, but only because I simply prefer the security of buying with a credit card and then paying for that over using a check, should the transaction go wrong). But, back to the question… probably CompUSA.
27. Bedtime: Between 11:30 P.M. and 12:30 P.M., typically.
28. Who will respond to this e-mail the quickest: N/A
29. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond: N/A
30. Who are you most curious about their responses to this questionnaire: Sure, if anyone else responds, I'll be interested to see that.
31. Favorite TV shows: I'm a classic TV kind of guy: I Love Lucy, The Beverly Hillbillies, I Dream of Jeannie, Dick van Dyke Show, etc.
32. Last person you went to dinner with: family.
33. Ford or Chevy: Neither, but probably Ford. If I had to buy an American car, it would presently be a Chrysler product, however. Otherwise, I'd go with a Toyota or VW.
34. What are you listening to right now? Savior by Steven Curtis Chapman. Getting ready to listen to a dramatic recording of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards. Update: I am now listening to the sermon.
35. What is your favorite color: Green.
36. Lake, Ocean or river: Lake.
38. Time you finished this e-mail: 11:59 a.m.
39. Which came first God or Evolution? God is by definition the First Cause, the uncaused causer, the Ultimate, so how could anything else come first? Microevolution would obviously come after life; macroevolution, even if it was proven, would also come after the Ultimate Reality. A supreme being that came in to being through something else would be contingent, and therefore not supreme.
40. How many people are you sending this e-mail to? No one. Zero. Nada. Zip.

CYOA Reminder

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:19 PM

No one has picked up the mantel to continue the Choose Your Own Adventure from 4.5: Gregorian Chants. Haven't tried CYOA yet? Why not try running with this branch of the story as a way of dipping your toes in the water? Already written something for CYOA? Here's a chance to expand the story some more, perhaps in a different direction from your last entry, perhaps the same — it is all up to you!

(Since my blogware does not yet notify me by e-mail when you comment, please comment on this post if you'd like to sign up for one of the Gregorian Chants options.)

Comment to Save Lives

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:57 AM

Pressed has an interesting event going on over at his blog. Every unique commenter to comment on this post will lead to multiple donations to World Impact. Up to 120 unique posts will up the amount pledged, but this only goes through Friday, so you need to go over there ASAP and comment.

The Questioning

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:18 AM

As part of the question meme going around, Christopher has given me an excellent set of interview questions. In return, I believe that I am suppose to offer to question five more fine blog readers, a task I am happy to do. If you would like to be the next to try out the question meme (or to try it again), let me know in the comments.

1. You can only choose one to own for the rest of your life: a Linux box or a Mac. What do you choose? Why? Money is no object.
That is a tough question. I've noted several times that I am using a Mac these days, but I'd have to say GNU/Linux. While the Mac suits me best for my present endeavors, I know that GNU/Linux can be customized to whatever I might need in the future. Especially if money was not an object, I could even hire a developer to enhance it for me as it became outdated, whereas if something happened to Apple, I'd be stuck the rest of my life with an increasingly obsolete system. I anticipate that GNU/Linux will continue to get better on the desktop, and it is already an enterprise class solution for servers.

2. You are writing a book. What is it about?
Well, I'm not quite ready to reveal all of the details, but, briefly put, it is a novel. Expect it to be somewhat dark and dramatic, to contain the pursuit of a criminal and so on, but with a twist that makes it hopefully a bit unique. If I get some time to plow ahead with it a bit, perhaps I'll post the first chapter on here in the future, but I'd like to get a little further along first.

3. What is one thing that you want to change about yourself?
Just one? I'd like to be less self-centered and more humble. I worry far too much about myself and my own opinions; I need to wrest more control from my ego at times. It's not that I have any reason to be proud and self-absorbed, I just am, and I've been feeling especially convicted lately of the need to remedy this. Just thinking about all the things I would like to and should change about myself ought to be enough to deal with the latter problem (although it is not). The former problem takes more work, but I'm trying to improve with God's help.

4. Describe the process of salvation.
Wow, we aren't dealing with little questions are we? Well, as you noted, I've dealt with this a bit in my last post, and since I've been quoting C.S. Lewis, I shall again point to him, for like him, I do not claim to truly understand the specifics. But, I will give an answer as good as I presently can muster.

As I see it, Jesus' death and resurrection serve to provide complete atonement for the world's sins, with one “catch:” people must make a conscious choice to be receive the grace provided by Jesus. There is plenty of Grace on the table, people just have to ask for some. As totally depraved beings, we have no desire to place ourselves in a position of dependence on God, but God dispenses grace — reaches his hand out, as it were — to us as we flail around drowning in sin.

As I noted in my last post, I've contemplated a lot how God decides whom to provide this grace to. I find it troubling to accept arbitrary election for the sole reason that it necessitates that God created some for the sole purpose of being damned for eternity (arbitrary condemnation), which does not fit with my understanding as God as loving and just. My understanding could be flawed, of course, but I will have to write another post on the problems with arbitrary condemnation.

While I, and everyone else, deserve nothing more than to be cast down into Hell, I do not believe God intends some people for that purposes; rather He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3.9). Does that mean I'm trying to argue a universalist position? No, but I will argue I think that God would like everyone to be saved, but prefers the greater good for free will that leads to true love and obedience rather than the mechanical obedience that would come from sovereignly ordaining us to love Him.

Therefore, my theory is that God foreknows those who would choose Him, if not for their depravity, and extends His hand to help those onto the shore of salvation. If we imagine a ship wreck in which people are flailing around helplessly, a person on shore could tell which ones wanted to his help and which ones were unwilling to receive help despite their hopeless situation. Likewise I believe it is with God that He gives us the grace needed to seek salvation when He knows we are ready to surrender our will and therefore choose to be with God rather than being forced to follow Him. But we cannot do anything, even surrender, until His hand allows us to quit sinking.

At the point of accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, His sacrifice is vicariously put in place of our demise. That is, we are hopelessly in debt and the debt is paid in full, therefore allowing a just and righteous God to accept us with the love He intended for His creation, despite our anger provoking sin.

5. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
That's a tough one. Given that I made my way through the majority of grade school, middle school and high school with my mother as my teacher (that is, I was a homeschooler), I'd be tempted to name her. I could not have had a better teacher. I'm a little biased there, you know? Seriously, she worked amazingly hard to find new and interesting ways to learn material that seems to be repeated almost every year in schools, and had me spend time studying stuff that normally would not have been included in the curriculum, such as absolutely fascinating (yes, fascinating) books on biology and economics. These weren't text books, but why must we spend time boring students with dry text books when there is a wealth of better books out there?

If we exclude my mother from the running, for the sake of exploring another “nominee,” I would name quite possibly the world's best (ok, I'm biased) professor of religion, Dr. Alan Meyers. He was the one, a number of years ago, who introduced me to the academic/critical study of religion. He demonstrated the usefulness of applying the academic study of religion, which is often viewed as an enemy by Christians, as a useful tool that encourages faith. This is a topic I've been meaning to talk about separately, so I won't go into the nuances, but he is an amazing man. He has a stunning wealth of information in his head, but if he is confronted with a question he doesn't know the answer to, he will inevitably search out an answer and return with it. He will also gladly admit when you've presented him with a new peace of information too.

He is extremely kind and always looking for ways to share his enthusiasm for the study of religion with anyone who is willing to learn. He calls his students “friends” when addressing them as a group, and his attitude shows that this is sincere and not just a nice way of addressing a group.

As a Presbyterian minister, he also shares my love of Paul's epistles, and when talking on them, will often switch to “preacher mode” for a few moments. I would assert that he is a perfect example of someone following the spirit of being “in the academy” in the classical sense.

Coffee: How Do I Love Thee?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:12 PM

My good friend Eduardo is presently on vacation, and invited several people, including myself, to guest blog on his site over the time period of January 14-February 1. So far, two of my other friends and fellow bloggers, Josiah and Ed, have posted some interesting posts that are most definitely worth checking out.

Today, I finally posted a piece over there, which I thought I would link to from here. It is a piece honoring everyone's favorite brown liquid — coffee. Take a look and join me in celebrating the world's most perfect form of caffeine.

Odds and Ends

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:30 AM

World English Bible

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:20 PM

A Thanksgiving Medley

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:41 AM

Rain

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:03 AM

What a Good Day

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:23 PM

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