Sunday, December 26, 2004

An occasion for backing up my HDD! I've now got about 12 distinct characters, most of them named, with personalities thunked up as well. I'm trying to decide how many will be villians and exactly how the concept of villiany should be played out in any future production. Yeah, I know the lighting is off and some of them have vampiric stares off into space, but I was just thrilled to get thim into the same image. I found that with povray, group lights can give amazingly fast renders. The five characters in the front have group lights.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

This is where I'm currently headed with an entry to the POV COMP competition. (Hope I don't invalidate my entry by sharing here.) Almost by accident, I inserted the current code for my character into an old file with radiosity in it. I love how it turned out. It has a very strong sense of depth, yet is lacking in surface normals in a way that evokes cel animation. Yes, the left foot is bent (a bug in my code) and the left hip is so improperly modelled it's almost falling off (first time it's ever been in that position)!
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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Some day, I might blog about DDT, ...

... and in the meantime, here's my list of articles you can start reading now:

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Quote on 3D CG humans

"... The idea of doing him as a human **in 3D** wasn't really appealling either. That's a really difficult thing to do and it usually doesn't turn out really well. "

Brian Roberts, animator, "The Story of St. Patrick" segment on The World of Autotainment, Big Idea Studios.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Can you tell what's happening? Does this image work-- can you tell what the big red blur is in the background-- or do I need to fix the composition and modelling in the back? (Hint: it's supposed to be a bunch of threatening red robots.) Email me or leave a comment.
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Sorry Everybody II
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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sorry Everybody
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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Truth "versus" Love Project

I have been a fan of the writings of Francis Schaeffer, who was an apologist for straightforward relevation of truth in scripture. "God spoke truthfully but not exhaustively," is a quote that quickly comes to mind.

I'm also a big fan of the rock star Bono, who has also been involved in various humanitarian campaigns. Occasionally, he's come up with wonderfully inflammatory quotes about how nonbelievers will view the church if it were seen as indifferent to the great causes of human suffering on the planet.

At the same time, it has been said that Schaeffer's work led the groundwork for the formation of the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. A voting guide for the CC about a decade ago explicitly advocated the denial of visas to refugees with AIDS; Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have similarly had a reputation of not being the most humanitarian-minded of individuals. Pat's twice called for a nuclear strike against the U.S. State Department.

Likewise, Bono's web site has information which gives a religious context to the campaign. One such "sermon" really has no religious content in it, certainly no mention of grace or Jesus, and the action called for was a letter to politicians.

I for one believe the world would be a better place-- that the actual God out there would be happier-- if more Christians had the resolute theological grounding of Schaeffer with the humanitarian outlook of Bono. Biblical orthodoxy with human compassion, a respect for revealed truth and fraternal love-- hence I've started the Truth "versus" Love Project. A Homiletics Award or sermon-writing contest for seminary students of my own denomination, the ELCA.

See the following link for an announcement page.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I've been working on increasing the "attractiveness" of the two figures. Compare how nice they look even compared to the animation I submitted a few weeks ago, at: ( ). The one on the left I had been keeping around as a joke-- when I first shared it I believe I heard jokes about a lunch lady. After fixing the eyes and lips, I "accidentally" gave it an African skin color and BAM! it looked beautiful to me, with the contrast of the blue eyes. I had been intending to make the one on the right a person of color, but I think I'm sold on the one on the left. The right one's hair was taken from a sample file by Anto Matkovic which was included with jPatch.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A portrait of the latest version of my leading man character. Think I got the lighting just right on this one.
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Sunday, August 01, 2004

Image: Finally, a Leading Lady...

This took a lot of work, especially to get the lipstick algorithm to work. She is modelled in part after a virtual composite of German beauty pageant winners.

Now if I were ever to have a little romance in one of my stories, the audience will no longer be asking, "Why is he dating a mutant gorilla?" or, "Isn't the lunch lady a bit older than him?" Not searching for a pinup, just trying to make something that wasn't inherently comedic.
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No, we're actually in favor of torture.

Michelle Malkin writes in a recent column where she lists a number of things that bother her:

2. The American Civil Liberties Union. The organization maintains dangerously absolutist positions against the use of torture to gather intelligence from al-Qaida terrorists, against the designation of enemy combatants apprehended on either foreign or American soil and against common-sense profiling in wartime.

"Dangerously absolutist position against the use of torture?"

I remember during the 1998 race for the Florida seat in the U.S. Senate, then candidate Connie Mack opposed a treaty against torture. He said that he believed democracy was the only key to protecting human rights. Connie mack was also a staunch defender of Low Intensity Conflict in Latin America, wars launched in the name of freedom and democracy (and BTW wars where "our side" had a long list of charges of human rights charge against them.) I remember one Amnesty International report that accused the Nicaraguan contras of "routine torture and summary execution of captives." (When the same phraseology was used by A.I. against Saddam, they were proudly repeated by Dan Quayle in defense of the Gulf War-- but I'm getting ahead of myself). My cynical side in 1988 was tempted to conclude that Connie Mack was actually pro-torture. But I repented of my disparagement of my brother-- no one's that terrible.

Then came the Rodney King beating. The Abner Loiuma anal rape, the anal rape at Abu Ghraib. In the defense of all these actions, there were seemed to be a vein of popular conservatism that thought these were good things, or were "more outraged at the outrage" than the thing itself.

Can someone help me out here? Is there a vein in the tradition of the church that allows for the abuse of prisoners if it can be tied to some security objective? Email me at my address-- it's the nine-letter word in the userid of this blog account at

There's a logical problem here. The old adage goes, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." I can imagine that the Soviet Union faced security threats as grave as does the West now. Surely Saddam did, with Kurdish and Iranian operatives threatening their security. If we rationalize torture in our time of crisis, we've just written a theology that gives Saddam and Stalin a Get out of Hell Free card.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

We're mostly against torture

I'm a bit reeling from news reports that a "majority" of Americans oppose torture.

The results come from the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). The AP story reported on Yahoo! News stated,
A majority, 55 percent, said this country should never use mental torture — such as making someone think that they or their family will be killed, according to the poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Of course, my political sensibilities are deeply offended that the number is not 100%. The PIPA report does show greater reluctance to suport other forms of torture:
These include methods formally approved by the Department of Defense including using threatening dogs (rejected by 58%) and forcing detainees to go naked (75% rejected). Other forms rejected by even larger majorities included sexual humiliation (89%) and holding a detainee’s head under water (81%).

Rush Limbaugh is widely reported to have called the Abu Ghraib prison abuses "brilliant"; I read a speech from Chuck Colson where he stated his disgust at the sexual turn of events at Abu Ghraib, and said that as a fine young officer he in his youth would have found nonsexual ways to abuse prisoners. It sounded like he was reaching into the list of techniques above.

I've heard it said that using abuse in interrogation is not helpful because the abused will say anything to get the abuse to stop. In all seriousness, it endangers us not only because of unreliable information but because it ticks off the family members of those abused.

I am convinced that the God of the Bible is appalled at these things. We are no better than beasts. As one who believes in original sin and an actual hell, it's times like these that these doctrines perhaps become too believable for comfort. And yes I know that as I point my finger at the speck in my neighbor's eye I must look for the plank in my own and confess with the Good Thief on the Cross that "I justly deserve Thy temporal and eternal punishment."

But where is the church in all this? I can think of about four different responses:
  1. Rush is right. Prisoner abuse is brilliant. I've also seen other conservatives say what happened at that prison was not torture. 
    My response: To the former, I think there's a quote in Out of the Silent Planet where the angel in charge of Mars says to one of the villians from Earth, "Were you of my world, I would simply 'undo' you, because everything human in you is already gone." To the latter, perhaps this is some kind of forgivable hysteria to deal with such unbelievable news. In any case, if some Christian denominations are breaking up over some wanting to be silent about sexual sins, I say I'd be the first to throw a brick over this issue.

  2. The Gospel and our eternal status is the focus of the Church. As the regenerate will be empowered to do good works by the Spirit, therefore we must simply preach even more boldly the doctrine of forgiveness of sins on account of Christ's sake.
    My response, this may be the case, but why then wouldn't this formula apply also to other sins, like abortion or sexual ones: 'Hush up on controversial specifics, just preach Jesus'? I do not mean to mock anyone's commitment to seek legislation against abortion. Your theology of politically incorrect sins (like torture) however should match your theology on the sanctity of life.

  3. This is a national emergency crying out for incisive Law and Gospel preaching. My response: so like how? How do you tell people to be simple decent human beings without rightly being accused of partisanship, etc? How do you articulate this to be stricly a message from God-- yeah there's the idea of "Remember those abused as if you yourself were abused," but does that law make people human again?

  4. If these justifications for prisoner abuse were to represent a valid option within orthodox Christianity, I can just imagine what is going on in the mind of nontheists: Whereas, Christians are supportive, indifferent, silent, or divided on whether to round up residents of a country they've invaded and start torturing people at random. Therefore be it resolved Christianity is complete bunk.

    My response: This is my greatest fear-- that those in these countries fearing for their lives, or those nontheists seeking some kind of moral framework to live out their lives, and run into the Chuck Colosn speech. Or they'll hear about Rush's quote and knowing that Rush likes Republican candidates, and remember that the devout church going population of this country is overwhelmingly Republican. So they'll very naturally conclude that either there's something wrong with the actual God out there or the bible these Republicans are reading or with Christianity as something that this planet can afford any longer. This is my greatest fear.

And that's what's got me even more appalled.

Pray for the church. Pray for those we are endangering. Pray for me.

Image: from Toy Story??

I showed an animation of this walk/talk cycle to a four-year old friend of my son. He said, "Hey, I saw that guy on Toy Story!" Best compliment of the month, ferr sherr! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

A book review: "Beyond Liberation Theology"

Beyond Liberation Theology Humberto Belli & Ronald Nash, 1992, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids Michigan.

I wanted to bring attention to this book's critique of biblical interpretation. I find myself in resounding agreement with the chapter, "Liberation Theology and the Bible", even as I recoil in sadness at some of the book's political and moral worldview as it relates to poverty, economics, and low intensity conflict in Latin America. As a disclaimer, the two authors are Humberto Belli, a former Nicaraguan contra, and Ronald Nash, a man who wrote Why the Left Is Not Right: The Religious Left : Who They Are and What They Believe a book filled with misinformation about politically liberal Christians. Thus, I do not endorse the entirety of the book.

The authors however have made an assessment of the use and abuse of biblical criticism that I highly endorse. Like any tool, it can be put to noble or to silly and ignoble purposes. I write this review ultimately as a Christian who strives for a high view of scripture and this review is offered as a response to those who might believe in a "necessity" of using the tools of biblical criticsm and not understand how these tools are widely abused in Cristendom.

What follows below is a long quote from this chapter. I have added blue emphases to places where the authors cite the beneficial uses of biblical criticism and red emphases to the places where the authors cite the detrimental uses.

The question is ultimately the authority of scripture.

------begin quoted material


According to form criticism, the Gospels are not simply historical narratives about Jesus. They are the end result of a long process of oral tradition that was collected, preserved, and edited. ... For the form critic, the Gospels were an important source of information about what the chruch believe about Jesus at the time the Gospels were formulated.
Several positive contributions from form criticism stand out. For one thing, the stress on a period of oral tradition prior to the writing of the Gospels countered an earlier emphasis on exclusively written sources for the Gospels and sought to move beyond problems of that approach. It also drew important attention to the fact that the community of the early church had a practical interest in the tradition it transmitted. Form criticism helped clarify how the practical concerns of the early Christian community shaped and preserved its memories of Jesus. ...
It is important to distinguish between the neutral method of form criticism, which can be useful in a number of ways for understanding Scripture, and the presuppositions that some of the form critics insist on bringing to their use of the method. ...
Form critics who became captive to [the] destructive presuppositions used their method to undermine the historical credibility of the Gospels. ...
By itself, form criticism does not force one to conclude that the early church invented its stories about Jesus. The method can be used by people who believe the stories were recollections of what Jesus actually did and said, recollections that were preserved because of their relevance for some later life situation in the church
. ..
The problem then is not with form criticism per se but with the undefended assumption that the Gospels witness primarily to the life situation of the church at some later stage of its history and only secondarily to the historical Jesus...
Instead of assuming that the early church fabricated stories about Jesus to help it deal with its problems, it makes better sense to assume that considerations about practical relevance led the church to preserve statements originally made by Jesus.
A pivotal issue in the debate concerns proper placement of the burden of proof.
The skeptics argue that the burden of proof rests on those who regard the sources as authentic.
But as New Testament authority Joachim Jeremias asks, "Why should the burden of proof not fall on the skeptic?"


As easy as it may be to notice theological interests at work in the Gospels, it requires a whole set of additional presuppositions
to conclude that the Evangelists produced only imaginative interpretations of Jesus with loose or even nonexistent historical ties. As Stephen S. Smalley points out, the radical claim that there is not connection between the Christ of faith and the Jesus of history presupposes: "that the evangelists themselves were unaware of the distinction betweeen history and faith, and were prepared to disregard the former completely in the interests of the latter."
In other words, redaction criticism and form criticsm are not necessarily incompatible with either a high view of scripture or the conviction that the New Testament picture of Jesus is grounded on historical information. Conservative use of redaction criticism suggests that the Evangelists started with the historical information available to them and "drew out the theological implications of history which they recorded." Starting with the apostolic tradition about Jesus, the Evangelists expressed their own theological understanding of the tradition by the arrangement of their Gospels and by the seams that tied the various units of tradition to one another. Used with care, redaction criticism provides students of the New Testament with several advantages. It can help them see the interrelationship between faith and history in the early Christian community. The Gospel writers were not interested in recording bare facts. The Gospels reflect their writers' interaction with and theological interpretation of studying the Gospels as wholes... Redaction criticism can help identify what the Gospel writers themselves contributed to their source material.

But many redaction critics perform highly conjectural and subjective analysis. Redaction criticism should not imply the creation of new material.


According to Migeuz-Bonino, the Word of God should not be understood "as a conceptual communication but as a creative event, a history-making pronouncement. Its truth does not consist in some correspondence to any idea but in its efficacy to carrying out God's promise or fulfilling his judgement." Theologically liberal Protestants realized they could make Christian communities much more pliable to their imaginative, subjective reconstructions of Christian belief if they could dissuade the people in the pew from the old idea that divine revelation was in any sense some "conceptual communication". Interpret the Word of God in any way you like, as inward personal experience or as "creative event" perhaps, but never as a communication of truth! Over the past two hundred years, much non-orthodox theology has tried to deny Christians any acces to divinely inspired truth. ...
Whatever else religion can and possibily should be, it can never [in this view] be grounded on revealed information from God. The consequences of this are far reaching. For one thing, it explains the tendency in so much contemporary Christendom to equate Christian religion with whatever "Christians" happen to believe or practice at the moment. Since there is no divinely revealed truth, we may believe whatever we want.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Image: A Goofball Sidekick?

And don't forget this guy. I was showing my wife some of my animations and she said that this guy would make a better hero because he was more real. The others were so handsome or heroically perfect, she said, that it would be hard for people to relate. I was thinking of making this guy a sort of "goofball assistant that always saves the day at the end," and my wife's affection for him only affirmed this idea.

 Posted by Hello

Image: A Dueling Character?

The next round of the animations contest at the Internet Raytracing Competition has a theme of duel. So naturally, I had to start working on a sword that is animatable in the sense that it moves automatically with the wrist. It was very difficult to remember how my code worked but I eventually got it. Now the next challenge is to come up with a theme that explores my views as an Exhaustively Strict Just War Theologian, a view in opposition to the theology of the Bush Doctrine and "Rambo" movies. And no, I swear I wasn't trying to make it look like Mel Gibson-- I was aiming for myself! ;-)

 Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Image: New Avatars

I'm revising the M.I.M.E. Man character, and here are two possible new avatars for use in web pages. A lot of folks were familiar with the old ones, but it looked really wierd in profile.

 Posted by Hello

Islamofascism and the Treaty of Versailles

Michelle Malkin, in a recent column, spoke about the recent announcement by the Phillipine government that it was going to withdraw from Iraq. She writes:

The Battling Bastards of Bataan have given way to the Mollycoddling Milksops of Manila. And ultimately, we -- not just Filipinos, but all Americans and our allies battling Islamofascism -- will pay a grislyprice for this disgraceful capitulation.

I suppose that's a very fair estimation of how conservatives see our current execution of the War on Terror-- that it has the same moral urgency as did fighting Nazi fascism in World War Two. I think that this lens allows critics of the War on Iraq to understand conservatives a little better, and it seems plausible that over the long term, this so-called Islamofascism could represent as great a threat to freedom, human dignity, and development as did Nazi Germany.

My analogy, however, is that the way we're handling the threat of terrorism too similarly to the way the threat posed by Germany in World War One was handled. It's been said that the overly brutal and demeaning conditions applied in the Treaty of Versailles led to suffering of the German people, which led to resentment under wich Nazism was able to flourish, creating a "bigger threat" for World War Two.

That's exactly how I believe many liberals view the War on Terror. From our support of the Israeli apartheid wall to incommunicado detentions at Guantanamo Bay, I believe we're bungling the war and whatever peace may come about later by in the same way the writers of the Treaty of Versailles bungled it. I believe this bungling will come with a "grisly price" as well.

Scalia's "Perverse Incentive"

I believe that the Christian faith involves weeping with the Lord over the brokenness of humanity. Some of this brokenness is rightly addressed by items of the agenda of the "family values" crowd, and many items on that of the "peace and justice" crowd. My study of the Church and my political sensibilities however make me more irked by those who espouse family values at the expense of human dignity.

I've never really been a fan of justice Antonin Scalia. When I heard that there was an 8-1 vote in Hamadi v. Rumsfeld, which was about our right to hold suspects at Guantamo Bay without trial, I naturally started seething at my ideological and theological nemesis, Scalia. I went to read the transcript and searched for what I assumed would be Scalia's dissent.

Interestingly, it turned out that the lone dissenter was Clarence Thomas, not Scalia.

I did find some interesting comments from Sandra Day O'Connor in response to Scalia's opinion:

JUSTICE SCALIA'’s treatment of that case in a footnote suffers from the same defect as does his treatment of Quirin: Because JUSTICE SCALIA finds the fact of battlefield capture irrelevant, his distinction based on the fact that the petitioner conceded enemy combatant status is beside the point. See supra, at 15–16. JUSTICE SCALIA can point to no case or other authority for the proposition that those captured on a foreign battlefield (whether detained there or in U. S. territory) cannot be detained outside the criminal process. Moreover, JUSTICE SCALIA presumably would come to a different result if Hamdi had been kept in Afghanistan or even Guantanamo Bay. See post, at 25 (SCALIA, J., dissenting). This creates a perverse incentive. Military authorities faced with the stark choice of submitting to the full-blown criminal process or releasing a suspected enemy combatant captured on
the battlefield will simply keep citizen-detainees abroad. Indeed, the Government transferred Hamdi from Guantanamo Bay to the United States naval brig only after it learned that he might be an American citizen. It is not at all clear why that should make a determinative constitutional difference.

O'Connor uses the word "perverse incentive" to refer to the legal framework Scalia would impose regarding the detention of prisoners. I just have to agree that this is perversion. I am saddened that too many conservatives aren't worried about this other form of perversity.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Image: Leaving the Old Behind...

In case you're wondering, no they're not holding hands. I just juxtaposition them close together so I can see a lot of them. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. Considering a major rehash of the MIME Man files I've been using in povray, and the latest is on the left. Its profile is far superior, to say the least.

 Posted by Hello

Monday, June 21, 2004

What was Going on When they Wrote "What's Going on Among the Lutherans?"

Consider the following text from a textbook used in some seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Christian Dogmatics, Braaten & Jenson, Vol. 1, p. 549ff.


Three days after his death Jesus appeared again to a small circle of friends. The crucified Jesus revealed himself as the living, risen, exalted Lord who had triumphed over death and the devil. The raising of Jesus was an act by which God put an end to his humiliation and exalted him above all the enemies of humankind, and without it our faith is in vain (1Cor 15:14). Mythological symbolism contributed to the interpretation of the event of the resurrection. The question has become acute in modern theology whether in the resurrection we are dealing only with a myth or with a truly historical event.

Some theologians dismiss the resurrection as of little importance. Consider.. 'Christian faith (as I understand it) is possible apart from belief in Jesus' resurrection in particular and life beyond bodily death in general, and because of widespread skepticism regarding these traditional beliefs, they should be presented as optional.' Other theologians are doubtful about the possibility of verifying the resurrection as a specific, historically definable event, but would still wish to speak about it as a way of interpreting the real significance of the cross... [Somebody] writes: 'There is no justification for affirming Jesus' resurrection as an event that really happened, if it is not to be affirmed as a historical event as such....'

All the modern scholarly differences on the historical problem of the resurrection should not overshadow the prevailing exegetical consensus that from the oint of view of the whole New Testament the resurrection of Jesus was an event that really happened in time and space, that eyewitnesses were prepared to vouch for it, and that the earliest Christians believed it to be a firmly established truth. ...

An historian's presuppositions may determine for him or her that the resurrection did not really happened because such a thing could not happen. But who knows beforehand the limits of what is historically possible? If what is 'humanly possible' is the measure of what is historically possible, the resurrection of Jesus must be regarded as impossible. In the biblical view, what is historically possible is always weighed within the horizon of a world that is ever open to the activity of the living God... In the face of a priori denials of the resurrection of Jesus, it is necessary for theology to become critical of criticism, to free the mind and prepare the way for an unprejudiced
hearing of the witnesses.

The report that a dead man has been raised... is sui generis-- to far the only event of its kind. There is therefore no conflict with natural science, as is often presumed. ...

We can call the resurrection an historical event because it happened in a particular place, in Palestine, and at a definite time, a few days after his death and prior to Pentecost. ...

Christianity is based on the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, becuase in this event God vindicated the claim of Jesus to be the prime representative of his coming kingdom. Christianity could not have had a beginning if the crucifixion had been the absolute end of Jesus. ...

In raising Jesus from the dead, God raised the cause for which he lived and died to the highest power in the history of salvation. ...


Christian art has depicted the ascension as a visible movement of Jesus' body through the clouds, with the disciples standing by, looking up, watching him disappear. In some realistic paintings all one can see is the feet, the rest of the body having been enveloped by clouds....
Not only Rudolf Bultmann but before him Martin Luther ridiculed the literalistic images of the ascension common in popular piety as childish ideas. If we ask, 'Where did Jesus go?' we can only answer, 'He went to the Father.' Even the scholastic theologians did not interpret the ascension in a purely spatial way. To be sure, they took the myth literally, visualizing Jesus going up to the coulds of heaven. But this was only an outer sign of the invisible ascension to the throne of God which is not located in a particular place but represents the omnipresent rule of God. ...

The ascension marked the beginning of something new in history. John quotes Jesus as saying, 'It is to your advantage that I go away" (john 16:7). The absence of Christ according to the flesh (kata sarka) opened the possibility of a new form of presence according to the Spirit (kata pneuma). .... [A]ctually the ascension was an advance, not a return to the status quo ante, to the previous place of the Son with the Father. It was an advance to a new epoch of history, to the sending of the Spirit and the mission of the church in world history.
[end of quote]

You may note two things about the above excerpts:

i) It seems pretty reasonable, don't you think? A pretty orthodox read, and it even sums up some of the wrong beliefs before making its own affirmation of an orthodox position.

ii) Some of the text is in red. It wasn't in red in the original book, but consider if you were only to hear the red material as evidence of what is being taught in ELCA seminaries. Wouldn't you get a very different opinion?

The book, What's Going on Among the Lutherans? A Comparison of Beliefs did just that. It was written by Patsy A Leppien and J. Kincaid Smith as a warning to Lutherans about the heretical and unLutheran beliefs supposedly ramapant in various Lutheran denominations, especially the ELCA. In a chapter on the resurrection, on pp. 114-5, it cites the red material above as evidence of heresy. When I saw such an egregiously unorthodox statement supposedly from an ELCA sem, I bought the textbook. If it were true, I'd probably have quit the ELCA that week. Since it's a misrepresentation, I quit reading the book and became even more disillusioned with fundamentalism within some of the more conservative factions of Lutheranism.

Two things are clear to me:

i) There are folks whose views are heretical within the ELCA. I suspect that there are more than a handful that do not believe in the Apostle's Creed.

ii) Upon finding a single gross misquote, I set this book aside. I wonder how much hardship and disunity has been caused by this book among those who take it hook, line, and sinker.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Is the Church finished?

Francis Schaeffer writes, in The Christian Church at the End of the 20th Century,

One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity today is not conservative, but revolutionary. To be conservative today is to miss the whole point, for conservativism means standing in the flow of the status quo, and the status quo no longer belongs to us. Today we are an absolute minority. If we want to be fair, we must teach young people to be revolutionaries, revolutionaries against the status quo.

Do you wonder why kids leave home? Youngsters come to L'Abri from the richest families in the world, from the greatest luxury. They come in their bare feet. They come in blue jeans. Why? Because they are sick of their parents making gods of affluence and thinking that one adds enough meaning to life merely by adding one more automobile to an already overcrowded garage. These young people are not wrong in this. They may have the wrong solution, but they are right in their diagnosis. Their parents, in the majority of what in 1970 is called the Silent Majority, may sound like Christians, but they have no base. They may say what we have heard in the past and they may say what Christians might say, but it is not the same. They are merely repeating from memory what is comfortable for the moment.

Here we are then, the historic, Bible-believing Christian minority. What are the possibilities for the future? As the New Left and the anarchists come forward, more chaos will result. And as more chaos comes, the majority of the Silent Majority will increasingly tend to strike back. To do so, they will increasingly accept the Establishment elite.

What about the church in this situation? Certainly, at least in first, the Establishment elite will be less harsh on the church than the Left Wing elite if they should come into power. But that is a danger. The church will seem better at first, but not in the end. If the church is identified with the Establishment in the minds of young people, in the minds of those who will be coming forth to be the men and the women in the next 10 years and the next 20 years, I believe the church is finished.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Judd Winnick, comic books and Abu Ghraib

I first became a fan of Judd Winnick upon seeing him on MTV's Real World. He was a struggling comic book artist then, and recently he's become a writer for such titles as Green Lantern and Green Arrow.

I just bought the series of #36-#39 of Green Arrow. In issue #37, G.A. "has" to get some information out of The Riddler in order to save the town while the Riddler is in prison. The Riddler balks at disclosing the information without some conditions so G.A. keeps physically harassing him until eventually he breaks some bones. G.A. goes on to save the town, naturally.

In a previous set of writings in Green Lantern, the administrative assistant of G.L.'s secret identity is a gay man who nearly dies of a beating by homophobes. G.L., full of righteous anger, enters a prison to harass someone associated with the crime. G.L. enages in physical abuse and threatens much worse of this prisoner until he discloses the identities of the gang who beat up his friend. Naturally, G.L. goes on to apprehend (and physically abuse) those involved in the beating.

Perhaps I shouldn't pick on Judd. I remember seeing in reprints of the original Superman newspaper strips from ca. 1938, Superman does some of the same things-- carrying a criminal to a dizzying height and threatening to drop him unless he fesses up with informaiton needed to save the day. But it does seem a surprise that someone so inovlved in other causes related to human dignity would be advocate such brutality.

I think the roots of Abu Ghraib go deep in American culture.

If I have time, I'll write on how conservatives are to blame, too. ;-)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

And then I came up with one with four arms. I thought this was pretty slick that I was able to get the code to do this.... Posted by Hello

And then this was the 150 pixel version of my CG portrait Posted by Hello

Well.... This was an attempt at making a female character. Right now it looks very "grannyish"-- in one forum, folks used the word "mutant". The goal was a love interest or a superheroine. One of the earlier drafts looked very much like a gorilla in profile, so I suppose looking grannyish is an improvement! Posted by Hello

And here is a walk cycle test for my povray include file, "MIME Man". I was trying to make the textures on the arms and chest line up. It's not perfect, because the "volume" of the biceps actually comes from a contribution from the sphere components in the chest. Posted by Hello

One of the latest improvements I've made to my povray include files for my character is to give the eyes a focal point Posted by Hello

A Mandelbrot fractal made with povray 3.5 Posted by Hello

This is supposed to be my blog photo Posted by Hello

portrait Posted by Hello

Yo this was the first test post

And there it was. See!