22 July 2008

"Second Life Wife": Real People, Real Emotions, Simulated World

It's been a while since I've written about Second Life. Like, over a year and a half. I think.

It's not that I've forgotten. It's a hot topic on many of the Methodists blogs I read. And I like what they have to say. As long as there is a community, online or in the physical world, there is a need for a Christian presence.

But I heard something that took me back to some of my earlier discussions (leave it to NPR). In a discussion of the "virtual world", the issue of marriage in Second Life was brought up. People, some married in the real world, others single, are getting married.

One of the arguments for this is that on the site, you get to know people for who they are. Thus, love in SL is somehow more real than love in the real world. No distractions of race, age, gender, disability, etc. At the same time, though, and what the piece failed to mention, is the ease with which you can claim to be someone else in this virtual world (or any, be it a message board, World of Warcraft, etc.). All it takes is a little imagination and a descent memory. Which isn't entirely bad. It can be fun to be somebody else.

But then comes the other person, who falls in "love" with this fake person. Those emotions can be very real and very hurt.

And then there are the married people. Who get married to someone other than their real spouse in SL. The emotional investment inherent in a marriage, even a virtual one, can be just as damaging to a relationship as adultery. Some might even call it adultery.

Don't get me wrong. I know that there are people who take all forms of social interaction, be it a coffee date or Second Life, too seriously (or not seriously enough). And I know I shouldn't let those people ruin the form of interaction.

Which is probably why the presence of Christian churches in SL are so important - the emotions are real, the relationships are real, and the grace of Christ is real.

Rock on.

21 July 2008

Monday Graph Jam # 4 - I'm Finally On Time

Yeah, I know, I can hardly believe it.

On to the graphs.
If you don't know what a furry is, don't find out.My friend has an idea for units in which scientists can objectively rate human lives. Introducing - the Hilton (Hi). The Hilton is represented on this graph at the x value where the blue line reaches its lowest possible point, while the red line reaches its highest possible point.

Shalom.

Legal Notice and Disclaimer: I didn't make the graphs. I don't own Linux, nor do I hate people who like Linux. I just like laughing at Penguicon, which I don't own either. And if the word "Hilton" appears anywhere in your name, the similarity between you and the unit, Hi, is a complete coincidence.

The Dark Knight and the New Trend in Comic Book Movies

I like Batman. As evidenced by the fact that I saw The Dark Knight at the midnight release in Athens, and then again Saturday when I went to visit my sister in Atlanta.

I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series.

I used to have the Wayne Manor play-set.
I wish I still did.

So when I found out Heath Ledger was going to be playing the Joker, I was nervous, but gave him the benefit of the doubt - mostly because of how much enjoyed Batman Begins. Honestly, I've been waiting for this movie since the Joker card was flipped over at the end of BB.

And he/it did not disappoint.

But that's not what I want to talk about.

The Dark Knight is one of those rare movies that has the witty dialogue and the traditional dramatic speeches that make comic book/graphic novel movies hard to swallow sometimes, but sill finds a way to make it work. Really well.

But that's not what I want to talk about, either.

The Dark Knight is not for kids. Or for people who are easily disturbed. While trying not to give too much away, this movie is dark, creepy, and - well, disturbing. It dives into the mind of a depraved, psychotic criminal. It's not a fun around, especially since, like all Batman villains, the Joker is based, in part, on something inside of everybody. It's what you don't see or hear - what you have to fill in for yourself - that really gets to you.

But at the same time, this film is masterful in exploring the mind of the hero as well. Again, while trying not ruin the movie for those who have yet to see it, The Dark Knight is also about people who do the right thing, the price they pay, the guilt they feel, and the temptation to give in to the baser instincts. What happens when chaos is introduced into the system? Can society cope? Can an individual? At the end of the movie, you find yourself filled with both hope and despair.*

Rock on.

*ThinkChristian offers their review here; but be warned, it contains a few spoilers - not enough to completely ruin the movie, but those wishing to experience the full effect should stay away until after seeing it.

15 July 2008

Monday Graph Jam #3 - Ruby Tusedsay II - Now with 100% more Tuesday

I suck at getting posts up on time.

Make with the graphs....and we are all together.

Disclaimer: I don't own Graph Jam. I own neither Simon nor Garfunkel. And I especially don't own the Beatles, lest I earn the wrath of Yoko.

12 July 2008

China - How Deep of a Whole Can They Dig?

One reason I support a full boycott of the Beijing Olympics is Chinese involvement with, shall we say "shady" African regimes, such as Sudan.

And Zimbabwe. And just as most European nations are calling for sanctions against Mugabe's regime, Russia and China have decided to veto the measure.

Chinese Foreign Policy - Because Oppressing Our Own People Just Isn't Enough

Now, I know, Russia is at fault here, too. And either one of them could have vetoed the measure and the effect would have been exactly the same. But Russia did not win the Olympic games by promising to clean up its act (though not an entirely bad idea).

Rock on.

10 July 2008

Adam Hamilton on Worship

For those who are unfamiliar with Rev. Adam Hamilton, he's the head pastor at Church of the Resurrection UMC in Kansas City (technically, it's not quite in Kansas City, but instead, in Leawood, KS, but oh well).

When I attended the Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae service at CoR, I was at a point in my life where I was deciding between contemporary and traditional worship styles and starting to question the idea of mass-market mega-churches, and attending the service had a tremendous impact on me.

So, more than two years later, I was quite happy to find Rev. Hamilton's thoughts on worship bosted on his blog, Seeing Gray. For those interested, here's the link.

Rock on.

08 July 2008

Monday Graph Jam #2 - Ruby Tuesday

Today's post doesn't have anything to do with the Rolling Stones. Or the restaurant. I was trying to make a pun about being a day late. Kind of like a bad action movie title. I know, I'm a dork.

Anyway, on to the graphs.
And for fans of Stuff Christians Like, don't be this guy.

Rock on.

*Disclaimer: Once again, I don't own Grap Jam. I didn't make the graphs. Or the movies mentioned in the graphs. Nor do I write the SCL blog. I'm not "that dude", Tyler Durden, or Steve McRoskey. I'm not Keyser Soze either, but that's a different story.

05 July 2008

I Don't Want To Face the Truth, And You Can't Make Me

Although I probably should.

Following the posting of my grade for RELI2004, I am officially half way through my junior year.

Holy crap.

And what makes it weirder is that I've only been in college for two years.

Gah.

Anyway, at this point, it's time to start looking at what I'm going to do after graduation (my word, I shouldn't be talking like that - I'm too young!). Since ninth grade, I've been saying that I'll go to seminary. But it wasn't until my dad, in his usual fashion, made me face reality a year ago and asked, "Which seminaries are you looking at?"

What do you mean I have to choose? Can't going to seminary be like going to college? Why don't I just apply to the schools that all of my friends are going to and the one that give me free tuition?

Which is about where I am today. I've sent out for some information to a few schools and gotten information back from even fewer. Those schools are: Asbury Theological, Regent College, Fuller Theological, Duke Divinity, and Wesley Theological. I sent out to Candler (Emory), but they haven't sent me anything yet. (Edit: Actually, it just came in the mail today.)

I like Regent - mostly because it's in the Pacific Northwest. I like Asbury because, well, it might mean financial support from the UMC. Fuller has a lot of different campuses - campi? - which is always nice. Duke is...well, it's Duke. It wouldn't be much of a move from Athens.

Which brings me to why I'm posting this on teh Interwebs*. I need help/advice. If you're a pastor or seminary student who just happened to stop by, please, leave a comment. I'm always open to suggestions. Of course, I'm going to talk to my pastor and my campus minister and a few of my professors as well, but every little bit of input helps. And please, direct other people this way - as I said, I'm always open to suggestions. And who better to seek it from than people who've been in this place before?

Rock on.
*Oddly enough, "Asbury" is marked as wrong by the Firefox spell check, but "teh Interwebs" is not. Go figure.

03 July 2008

Sudan's One-Sided Trials

The Sudanese government started the trials last month for members of a rebel army fighting in Darfur.

They have not, however, attempted to so much as restrain members of the Janjaweed militia.

Can't say I'm surprised. Just disappointed.

Rock on.