Elliot's Blog


Reflections on Genesis 3
May 8, 2011, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Theology

I was listening to my audio Bible in the car today, and I had a thought in passing that I would like to share with you all. Please note, this is mostly based on speculation. Please do not take my thoughts and interpretation as Law or Inspired. They are not.

First, There are a few things we must establish up-front before any discussion is made on the book of Genesis. 1) We have all that we need. In order to find the point of the narrative that is contained in the book, we don’t need any more information. The rest of what happens is up for conjecture 2) We don’t have all the information. It’s clear that the story which we have does not represent each and every event, conversation, birth, or whatever else that occurred during this time period. 3) It’s ok to wonder and speculate. As long as our core, foundational beliefs remain firmly rooted in Scripture, we have the freedom to guess at and study the finer points and the less clear portions of the story of the Bible.

Now, let’s get into it.

3:1 Now1 the serpent was more shrewd than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?” 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; 3:3 but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’” 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die, 3:5 for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like divine beings who know good and evil.”

It has long been noted that Eve got God’s command wrong. He said “don’t eat, you’ll die.” She said “don’t touch, we’ll die.” Clearly something had been lost in that conversation. Typically, the interpretation has been that Eve didn’t clearly understand what God had commanded. This would have led to an improper understanding of what God’s intentions, meanings, repercussions would be. I would agree that if you don’t have the same starting point in a dialog, you will definitely have a different finish line. But there may be more at work in this story. Let’s look back a chapter:

2:15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it. 2:16 Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.”

From this passage, it would appear that Eve wasn’t instructed not to eat from the tree by God (that doesn’t mean she wasn’t, it just means that we don’t know for sure). She wasn’t even around by this point in the story. It seems to me that the command from God was probably handed down by Adam to Eve. He was an intermediary between the two of them.

There are so many different things that I learned this past semester from Dr. Billy W. Jones. One of them, “Mankind always develops law.” An innate part of being a human is that we seek to establish a law of some kind. We even have a tendency to take law to extremes. As we see in Judaism (as portrayed in the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures), people have a tendency to build a “hedge” around known law. The Jewish people in the first and preceding centuries tried to make a bunch of extra laws to protect people from breaking the known, God-given Law. This hedge kept people from breaking the Law by keeping them far from even coming close to breaking it.

Adam may have tried the same thing for Eve. If (big if) he was the one to relate the command from God to Eve, he may have tried to protect her from even coming close. I image that he may have said something like “Baby, we aren’t allowed to eat the fruit from that tree. God said ‘When you do, you will die.’ In fact, you’d better not even touch it, just to be on the safe side.” How many times to men try to make things easier on the women-folk by deception (don’t answer that)? How many times does it blow up in our face (too often)? Really, it becomes a dicey call, Bub.

How often, in the Church, do we do that? We take all the grey areas of the Bible (alcohol, dating, gambling, drugs, the list goes on) and we make up our own rules. We think that if God is less than clear on something, we’d better be extra-safe. Let’s keep people from possibly offending God by making up rules to make it impossible for them to even try to break what God may have been getting at.

We are shutting the church doors for those who are interested because their “activities” are sinful. We are crippling those who are coming to know Christ. We are saddling them with unfair, unnecessary rules. We are “looking out for their best interest,” but in-so-doing we are preventing them from examining the Scriptures to make up their own mind. In modern Christianity we have such a hedge around all the “taboo” topics. We have built our own rules and codes that speak on issues which are largely absent from Scripture. This cannot last. The Church will not survive another generation of operating in this way.

I love one of the sayings from the early Restoration (Stone-Campbell) Movement: “Where the Bible speaks; we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.” Let’s go back to preaching the Bible. Let’s go back to telling people what it actually says. Let’s ditch this stigma of being a “good, conservative, republican Christian.” Let’s ditch our own rules and practice what the Bible tells us to practice.

If we don’t get our act together, we’ll find ourselves trapped in a hedge-maze that we can’t find our way out of.



Belkin N+ Wireless Router
May 2, 2011, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We moved!!! We moved across our apartment complex into a 2-bedroom unit! Now we have a library/office/guest-room. Not only did we upgrade our living arrangement, but we upgraded our Internet Service, as well. We had been with At&t, but I made the decision to switch to Charter. I had heard third-hand horror stories about poor customer service, but the bundle for basic cable along with  internet access about seven times faster for the same price just must be worth at least trying.

Today, I bought a wireless router to replace the modem-router combo we had been using with At&t. I had seen an article about the new line of Belkin wireless routers, and I was impressed. I headed down to Micro Center, and was as impressed in real life as I was on the internet. The N+ was the high-end model, but as far as buying a router goes, it seems like these purchases will be few and far between. So, why not splurge just a little bit. This will last a while, so it will be worth it in the end. Bonus, it also came with my very own copy of the General Public License (in a lot of different languages)!

Not only is it 802.11n, It’s got four Gigabit ethernet ports in the back. It’s perfect for a simple NAS appliance, a network printer, or a home server. Plus, it’s got a USB 2.0 port so that an external hard drive can be shared across the network. This port can also power an external USB hub. So, I can hook up several hard drives, flash drives, or whatever kind of storage that I want!

The instructions could not have been simpler or been easier to follow. Labeled “1, 2, 3″ it would have been pretty hard to mess up. Plug this into that, put this wire here, power-cycle the modem, and you’re off to the races. The initial set-up was easy peasy lemon squeezy. It was up and running in a snap. The more impressive part was that there are so many advanced options. This router has any and every option that you could want to set up. It’s really easy to set up a DMZ, port forwarding, firewall, and I can even have guest-ready internet access that stays separate from my private network, so I don’t have to give out my WPA2 key to everybody who wants to check facebook.

The only issues I had were that it took a few power-cycles of the modem. There were a couple of times that I would change a setting with the router and the internet connection would kick out. It also didn’t seem to play nice right away with a custom DNS. It was a pain in the butt to get Google DNS working.

Now that it’s all set up, I couldn’t be happier with the purchase! This will definitely be a staple in our technological life for a long time.



Who Wants to Move to Kansas?
April 1, 2011, 6:55 am
Filed under: Technology

Anyone else excited about Google Fiber?

When I saw the news yesterday, I was a bit heartbroken at first. I was a bit jealous that Saint Louis didn’t get picked (yet). More than that, I was so upset that I immediately (while the press conference was still happening) jumped on Kansas City’s Craigslist to look for jobs. Granted, that probably won’t actually be happening, the sentiment was still there. I wish I could have a front row seat to this amazing technology that Google is rolling out. I suppose that a second row seat from STL will have to do for now.

This is one of those defining moments in history. Life in Kansas City is about to become entirely different. Consumers will have access to 1Gbps internet speeds for the first time ever. In the history of the internet, people will remember Larry Roberts, Robert Taylor, Leonard Kleinrock, IPv4, and Kansas City. Things have already come so far since that first ARPANET between UCLA and Stanford. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

Schools will be different. Business will be different. Recreation, healthcare, family, research, the list goes on. Mark my words; from here on out, the way you deal with the internet is going to change.

I know what I would do with an internet speed almost (i.e. up to) 350 times faster than the 3Mbps I (sometimes) get, but most of KC probably doesn’t. I could download my Linux Distributions and stream Netflix (in HD) at the same time!! I eagerly await the day that this technology comes to me. I will be as high up on that list as possible.

Will you adopt Google Fiber if it becomes available to you? Is Google going to become (more of) an internet monopolizing machine? What benefits or disadvantages do you see from Google Fiber?

Comments welcome!



The Times, They are a-Changing…
August 21, 2010, 6:51 am
Filed under: Work

BIG GIANT EXCITING EXHILARATING NEWS!!

As of today (yesterday, technically), I have eagerly accepted the position of IT Supervisor at my school, St. Louis Christian College. It appears that the stars must have aligned in my favor this week. For, just four days ago, I had a conversation with my very close friend, J.C. Sandt, about how much I hated my job. We actually made a deal of epic proportions: by the end of the semester we would both be employed in a rewarding job. I had no idea that things would move so swiftly. So, with my two weeks handed in at Schnucks, and with much dread and hope, I excitedly begin to branch into this new adventure.

I say dread because there is much work to be done. There are routers to be reset; Ethernet switches to be tested; Passwords to find; Printers to fix; Web pages to design; As well as a whole host of other things that I haven’t even figured out yet. I have much work ahead, much trial and error, and (hopefully) much success. This new job will surely prove to be challenging, but it will no doubt be extremely rewarding.

That’s why the element of hope is there, as well. I’m so eager to learn and “get my hands dirty.” I know that I’ll be applying many band-aids to the current system that is in need of repair, but in doing so I will gain so much hands-on knowledge about what Information Technology is all about. There is so much promise for what this year will hold for me.

The good news in all this is that I’m entering into this with a crew. I’m not alone on this journey. I’ve got three MAP students that I will be working with. I know that they’re going to learn a lot through this, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from working with them.

My God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is a God of providence. At a point that I was looking for a fulfilling job (ideally, in the IT sector, no less), He was working hard. It amazes me so much how the LORD always comes through. He is faithful, and works all things for the good of those who love him, and are called according to His will. I’ve seen an incredible example this week of God’s workings, and I know I’ll only see more as time goes on. Praise be to God!



Planning Pothole
August 26, 2009, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Wedding Plans

I totally understand that little girls always fantasize about their dream weddings.

Furthermore, I completely understand and expect that Brandy will have many, many, many hopes and ideas for our wedding.

However, I have almost no expectations, plans, or ideas for this wedding.

As we begin planning our wedding, I’m learning lots of new things. Until yesterday, I had no idea where this process begins. Brandy and I went to look at a couple different venues where we could hold the ceremony and reception. Unfortunately for her, I wasn’t the most helpful person that I could be. To justify myself, I say that I grew up in a house with mostly boys, and that she’s been directly involved in the planning of two weddings within the past 8 months. But really,  I think what it comes down to is that I haven’t put nearly any thought into what I want my wedding to look like or include.

I’m not at all afraid to offer my opinion on something. If I see something I don’t like, I’m very up-front and honest about it. But, when asked “What do you want?” I have no response. She felt like I wasn’t telling her what I was really thinking, because I wasn’t saying anything. When we were out looking at different locations yesterday, I started really stressing out about it. Because she has so much in her mind already, she was expecting me to at least have some thoughts in my head. Once, we figured out where we were both coming from, though, things went much smoother. I wasn’t feeling pressured, and she didn’t feel like I wasn’t being honest.

This whole process is going to be a real learning experience for both of us, I think. I’m excited to figure out what I want, learn about what she wants, and most of all prepare for our life together. I’m glad we’re living in a culture where couples plan marriages together. There are going to be so many opportunities for patience, understanding, and decision-making; all of which are extremely crucial for a healthy marriage. While it’s going to be a tough road to travel, I’m glad to be on it with her.

–Elliot




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