Friday, August 31, 2007

Internet Service Providers (Part Two)

As you may recall we have been in the process of changing our internet service provider, because of connection problems on par with nothing we have ever experienced before. I ordered DSL through AT&T (Bellsouth) and about five days later we received some very nice looking DSL filters for our phones, but no modem. I guess it was bound to happen, but I was still optimistic. My confirmation e-mail(the one telling me when I would receive my self-install kit and my service activation date) had a link to an online service representative and I decided on giving that a try instead of sitting on hold on the phone for thirty minutes. It was a surprisingly simple and quick experience. Within about ten minutes they had placed an order for the DSL modem that they had forgotten to send me. We received the modem and set it up last night. So this is my first post with our new DSL connection. Goodbye DirecPath.

Now why Bellsouth did not sent the modem to me in the first place I guess will remain a mystery...
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Monday, August 27, 2007

Our will is free in Christ Jesus

Greg Krehbiel over at ponders the usefulness of free will. So much so that he denies the existence of it. Well, at least how he defines all the rest of us understanding it.

I have always thought of free will as the grace (gift) to choose God's will.

God gives us gifts out of love. The gift is given. Free will is in the use of his gifts. For God gives us the ability to use his gifts. As a creature we cannot use anything by our own power. We are dependant upon God to give us the power to use it. It is within the ability to use a gift that our free will comes into play. Without God we have no ability to use a gift. With God we have the ability to use a gift. So when we use a gift it is by God’s grace and power that we can use it. When we refuse to use a gift we are choosing nothing and that is not something given to us by God. It is returning to a graceless state of powerlessness. It is a rejection of the grace we have been given to use his gifts and therefore against the will of God. It is sin. So God gave us the gift of obedience and told Adam to not eat of the fruit. When Adam ate of the fruit he did not use the gift that was given to him by God to accomplish God’s will, and so he sinned. All of sin comes down to that rejection of God's will (i.e. refusing the gift). The greatest thing about the incarnation is that the gift that God has given us is himself. That is why rejecting that gift is damnation.

In other words, rejection of the gift is based in the freedom of the gift. God gives us the grace to accept or use the gift, yet we can still 'choose nothing' (i.e. refuse the gift) and remain without God's grace. All of God's gifts are freely given, but they are not without cost. We can not pay that cost, and so we can not 'choose' to accept. Our acceptance has already been paid for and so any 'choice' to accept is not our own. So in a way Greg is right. However, we can choose to reject, because there is no cost in receiving nothing.
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Waiting In Joyful Hope 2.0

Welcome to WIJH version 2.0. As you can see things look a bit different around here. I decided to get away from Blogger's classic template and make the plunge as some of the things that I wanted to do were just becoming too complicated. When I did figure out a work around they didn't end up quite the way I wanted them to. So here it is. Let me know if you come across any problems and I will try and fix them as soon as possible.
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Friday, August 24, 2007

Faith and Life Parish Lessons

This past summer I did something that I think I am ordered to in regards to the talents God has given me. I took a Catholic school curriculum for 1st through 8th grades and turned them into Parish lesson plans that can be used for CCD (Sunday school).

Ignatius Press has a wonderful religious education curriculum for Catholic schools called Faith and Life. It was orthodox when orthodoxy was, let's just say, in a more hostile environment than it is now and it is just an all around great curriculum. Because in the past there were not so many CCD curriculums that were faithful to the Magisterium a lot of Parishes used this Catholic school curriculum for their CCD classes. Unfortunately Faith and Life was not designed with the typical volunteer CCD catechist in mind. It has tons more information than you can pack into a typical 1 hour CCD class. Requiring a volunteer catechist to sift through everything to come up with a lesson was a heavy burden to place on them. Ignatius Press decided to create lesson plans that would ease that burden and hopefully that is what has been accomplished.

I became aware of this project through my old boss at Saint Brigid, Julie Johnson, who now works for Ignatius Press. It took about a month longer than I thought, but I think the end product is what Ignatius was looking for. Hopefully all those overworked CCD catechists out there find it to be what they were looking for too.

Here are the Parish lessons which are now available for 1st through 8th grades.

Here is the home page for the Faith and Life series.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Internet Service Providers

You may have noticed that it has been a bit sparse in the posting department the last few weeks. There are a few reasons. Things have been really busy with my company, I have been taking some classes online and the biggest reason is that the company that is supplying my internet connection is just awful.

Some days we are lucky to keep our connection for sixty seconds at a time. We live in a apartment/townhome complex that has a contract with a company called DirecPath. Among the services they provide are "high" speed internet access. We have never had worse service from a broadband internet connection. It is simply awful.

I was warned when I moved in here (by the people working for the complex no less) to stay away from them, but I figured how bad could it be. We didn't have a phone line (we just use our cell phones) so DSL, which is the only other option, was not an option for us. When I originally called them up to pick one of their packages (they also provide cable or satellite TV) the person who I dealt with knew next to nothing about their prices or policies. The installer was nice enough (subcontractor) and everything went smoothly with the installation. However I received my first bill and they charged me for an extra DVR that I did not purchase. After I called them up and dealt with a few different people I found someone that said they would credit the charge to my account. A couple of bills later no credit had appeared and I went through the phone fun again. Again I was assured that I would receive the credit. This time I got it. Woohoo. We would have service outages two or three times a week, but the connection generally worked. Then a few days after we returned home from our vacation it started to disconnect constantly. I would reset the equipment, but that didn't seem to help. Every once in awhile we would get a steady connection that might last thirty minutes, but for the most part we would get a minute tops.

We finally had enough with it and called up AT&T (aka the old Bellsouth (aka for those of you old enough the old AT&T)) to get a phone line and DSL service. Providentially, with the rebates it will end up costing us about the same per month even with the additional cost of the phone line. At least for the first year.

So that is our sad story. Hopefully I will get back into the swing of things again. Maybe Beth might even be convinced to write something...

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Monday, August 13, 2007

The Return of Us

Well, we're back. We had a wonderful time with Beth's family. We traveled to Connecticut and stayed with Beth's step-sister and her family for a few days. Then we headed over to the Adirondacks in New York to go to Camp of the Woods (there is a made-up song, but I won't bore you). Following camp we went back to Connecticut for a day and then we went to Virginia (to see part of Beth's mom's side of the family) for a day and finally home. Since I have pretty much given up on Beth ever posting on here again, I guess I will have to post some of the pictures.

Usually, over the course of the week at camp, we put together a puzzle. Once, a couple of years back, we decided to burn the puzzle on our last night at camp and it has turned into a slightly deranged tradition. Anyway, here is a before shot...

Holding the puzzle is Beth's step-mother Donna on the left and on the right is Donna's sister Linda. In the chair is our niece Hannah.

Above is the main reason that the slightly deranged burning of the first puzzle became a slightly deranged tradition: really cool puzzle on fire pictures. (Click the picture to see it blown up.)

Here is a shot of everyone this year. Beth's step-brother's family could not be here this year so it was a little smaller than normal. In the front, left to right, Donna (Beth's step-mother), Linda (Donna's sister), Dana (Beth's step-sister), and on her lap Josiah (Dana & Diego's son). In the middle, Grandpa Ken (Donna's father) and on his lap, Hannah (Dana & Diego's daughter). In the rear, from left to right, Beth, Paul (Beth's dad), me, and Diego (Dana's husband).

It's good to be home.

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