Today it came to my mind to publish a list of my inventions (some inventions from friends are included as well). This list was never published before. It will illustrate that inventing solutions and other needless technical stuff is one of my strange spare-time interests. Sad for most of you: this list is written in German. Anyway, have fun with it … you will find many really funny things in there, welcome to laugh 🙂 Just, post some comments here what you did with this list, o.k.?

You’ll let me boast somewhat in this post, ok? … umh, I mean, here are some facts about it:

  • 1364 inventions
  • 149 pages A4 at 10pt variable width font
  • 11109 lines of text
  • 8,5 and more years of searching problems and solutions
  • includes the valuable contributions of various friends … thanx, guys
  • original, yet completely unpublished material
  • had no commercial impact yet

And here it goes: you find the document in its latest version on my Personal: Publications page.

Me thinks the following to be an interesting insight. Friendship is something that does not exist in a statical way, but consists solely of the dynamic components. Friendship is done, it consists of interaction between persons. (Which is a difference to partnership, which exists also statically as it is binding.)

So what does this mean: that there’s no value in thinking about friendship but only in doing friendship instead. In the time used for thinking one cannot do friendship. The same applies to the quality of friendships: there is no static quality one could think about but only the dynamic, moment-by-moment quality one practises.

Date: 2007-08-10
Last major change: 2007-08-10

I’ve been driving to work in two expedition vehicles. I’ve been eating a barbecued steak at lunch, which was three day’s provision. I’ve been shopping, which is chilly mountain scenery. My lawn mower is the spare wheel of a truck. My living room is a cubicle, misplaced in a living nature. My bathroom only smells like the ocean. My yucca palm hardly reminds me that there are palms out there. I paid rent, which was the juice to drive. I’ve got all the brand-name stuff, but where’s my weather jacket. My shoes disgust the mud. I never learned to hike, I never had to.

Do I want to live this urban way?

I’m here in the course of trying to find how to live with God practically. (Jus’ to be clear: with the God of the bible, as there is no other being who deserves this title, as it means: the supreme being, the highest one, above all.) Now, umh, here I’m going to deal with the question: what is receiving wisdom from God?
The question arises from the following verses from the apostle James:

“(5) Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to everyone generously without a rebuke, and it will be given to him. (6) But he must ask in faith, without any doubts, for the one who has doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (7) Such a person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (8) He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he undertakes.” (James 1:5-8 ISV)

I will continue to examine these verses from the perspective that the relationship to God is in the average case “mediate”, i.e. without individual interaction between God and men. (By the way, I realize that this perspective needs a name to identify it.) Choosing this perspective willingly is not to say that it is the ultimately correct one, but to examine its validity on the go. What follows is a selection of theses and arguments for them:
  • Getting wisdom is not getting a concrete answer what to do but goodness ability. When trying to understand a text one has to use the meanings (or: connotations) that an author attributed to his words, not one’s own. This is esp. important when dealing with old or translated text as both changes the language and might increase the difference in meaning to the average use of words today. This holds true somewhat for “wisdom” here. Intuitively, we will understand this verse as: if you don’t know what to do in any concrete situation, if you lack any answer, pray to God for it. However, James has a more general concept in mind, as appears from his following words: “However, the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, gentle, willing to yield, full of compassion and good fruits, and without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” (James 3:17 ISV). Cf. also the context: James 3:13-17 ISV. For James, wisdom is the ability to live rightly. The same seems to be true in King Solomon’s case (I Kings 3:7-12 NASB): he prayed for wisdom and received an ability to be wise “himself”, not a communication channel to ask God whenever he needed a decision.
  • Wisdom from God comes without concrete interaction, on average. We saw that wisdom does not consist in concrete answers but in ability to generate concrete answers. This opens the possibility that God might give wisdom not in a concrete, delimited interaction but without it. This assumption is supported somewhat by James’ not saying what experience we’ve to expect when receiving wisdom from God. And by the experiences of those who prayed: it seems to happen very infrequently that we received wisdom from God in an explicitly supernatural way. Instead, the wisdom might “just be there” or “just grow up”, just as it seems to have been with Solomon.
  • Wisdom is the agency of the Holy Spirit. When comparing James’ description of wisdom (James 3:17 ISV) and Paul’s list of the “fruit of the spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23 ISV) it appears that both is the same, in essence. So wisdom, the ability to live, is due to the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is unclear however if it is something “human in essence” as the effect of the Holy Spirit’s teaching and educating, or something “divine in essence” as the concrete agency of the Holy Spirit as our “new core”. Or both. This is however not that essential …
  • Answers for concrete situations are termed “knowledge” in the bible instead. One of the charismatic gifts is the “gift of knowledge”, enabling people to recognize what God thinks about a situation and what he proposes concretely. Quick hint: in I Corinthians 12:8, speaking wisdom and knowledge is identified as two separate gifts.
Date: 2007-08-04
Last major change: 2007-08-08

To convert a bulk of blog posts I created in the past years to the format of Deepest Sender I wrote a small Python script that converts all events from an iCalendar (.ics) file to XML files for Deepest Sender. By the way, this is my first real-world Python script and I am astonished as to the ease, clarity and brevity of Python. Note that you need to save the script posted here with UTF-8 encoding; line mangling is just a visibility / screen width and template problem, just copy and paste the source into a text editor and you’ll be fine! Have fun!

#! /usr/bin/env python
# -*- coding: utf_8 -*-
#
# converts an iCal file with blog entries (as appointments) to Deepest Sender XML
#
# Arguments (in order):
# file the iCal file to convert
# output directory directory where the output files for Deepest Sender go into, one per blog post
#
# The appointments in the iCal input file are converted one by one to blog post XML files as understood by the XUL dektop blogging
# plugin “Deepest Sender” (http://deepestsender.mozdev.org). An inferior alternative to this script’s approach is to convert a HTML
# table as produced by korganizer’s HTML table export format for appointments.
#
# iCal file prerequisites:
# all VEVENT components have the SUMMARY property (else output file name lacks a title)
# no two VEVENTS on one day have the same SUMMARY property (else output files are overwritten)
#
# Deepest sender file structure (note that it is UTF-8 encoded):
# <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
# <entry>
# <subject><![CDATA[blog entry title]]></subject>
# <event><![CDATA[blog entry content with HTML markup]]></event>
# </entry>
#
# TODO: the filename must only contain a date, not a time, even if the DTSTART property contains one
# TODO: write the values of the DTSTART, CREATED and LAST-MODIFIED properties into the blog post text (via component.decoded())

import sys # argv, …
from xml.dom.minidom import parse, parseString
from codecs import open # overwrite internal open() to enable UTF-8 file access
from icalendar import Calendar, Event
# get it from http://pypi.python.org/pypi/icalendar/1.2 ; if you don’t want to clutter your distro by installing it system-wide,
# copy the directory iCalendar-1.2/src/icalendar/ to the script’s directory

def filenamestr(thestring):
thestring = thestring.replace(‘ ‘,‘_’)
thestring = thestring.replace(u‘»’,)
thestring = thestring.replace(u‘«’,)
thestring = thestring.replace(‘/’,‘bzw.’) # slash in a filename is really bad …
while thestring[-1:] is ‘.’: # remove trailing dots as a dot and filename extension will be appended
thestring = thestring[:-1]
return thestring

calfilename = sys.argv[1]
cal = Calendar.from_string(open(calfilename,‘rb’).read())
outputdir = sys.argv[2]
while outputdir[-1:] is ‘/’: # remove trailing slash if present
outputdir = outputdir[:-1]

entrycount = 0;
for event in cal.walk(‘VEVENT’):
# decompose blog entry; event.decoded() is Unicode already
date = event.decoded(‘DTSTART’)
title = event.decoded(‘SUMMARY’)
content = event.decoded(‘DESCRIPTION’,)
content = content.replace(‘n’,‘<br />’) # the simplest means to convert text to HTML, just as Deepest Sender does when
# writing in WYSIWYG mode; we eliminate n here as blogger.com would create additional <br /> from this

print ‘[processing:’, date, title, ‘]’
# print event.property_items() # debug utility

# calculate output file’s name
filename = str(date) + ‘.PRIVATE.’ + filenamestr(title) + ‘.xml’

# write blog entry to its output file
dsfile = open(outputdir + ‘/’ + filename, ‘w’, ‘utf_8’) # will only accept Unicode strings!
dsfile.write(
u‘<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>n’ +
u‘<entry>n’ +
u‘ <subject><![CDATA[‘ + title + u‘]]></subject>n’ +
u‘ <event><![CDATA[‘ + content + u‘<br /><br />Datum: ‘ + str(date) + u‘]]></event>n’ +
u‘</entry>n’
)
dsfile.close()
entrycount += 1

print ‘———-nconversion successful (‘ + str(entrycount) + ‘ entries processed)’

In my articles “The third way of life in this world” and “What kinda company with God is possible?” I argued that God’s mediate gifts are the normal case and immediate contact with God is the rare case. Immediate contact with a supernatural being as God is itself supernatural by character, and supernatural experiences are indeed the rare case in this life.
Thinking and talking about this again, I found that this is not all. My conception of classifying contact with God in the “mediate” and “immediate” area was simple but not enough. Between these is a third area, which I just touched in “The third way of life in this world” when I said:
There might be a greater number of cases where you cannot discern if it was really God (e.g. having some spontaneous thoughts, some visionary images and dreams, and for events where you suspect supernatural coordination). This is just normal and shouldn’t bother.
What I am going to do now is surveying well-founded reports from believers about this “cream white area” of contact with God. (Umh, this wording is just to avoid “grey area” to describe something undecidable … grey does not harmonize with God’s character as grey is boring and akin to darkness, and God hates darkness.) I will use here the Bible as my source for finding such reports. Before showing some examples I define interpretable immediate contact with God (or, creme white immediate contact) as something that fulfills these conditions:

  • What happens seems to be a context-sensitive and individual gift. It seems to be something intended for the present individual situation as it is quite rare (not one of those omnipresent or highly probable good things) and one of a small number of things that can help in the present situation.
  • No supernatural experiences are involved. Supernatural experiences include those which break the laws of nature, but also those which conform to the laws of nature but unquestionably show a supernatural agency. The latter is the case e.g. for prophetic dreams that reveal something to the dreamer he could not know – for example if a code appears in the dream like a bible verse reference, and the decoded verse hits to the ground of the situation.
  • The result is not the intended result of human agency. Both an immediate and mediate gift of God might involve a human being as the actual “giver”. If the gift’s effect is just what the human giver intended, this is a mediate gift: it’s good because God’s creation contains people who know what is good in a certain situation. If however the gift’s result was unpredictable by the human giver (e.g. comforting somebody regarding a problem unknown to the giver), this might be an immediate gift from God … and in other cases, chance.

Because no supernatural experiences are involved, one cannot unquestionably argue for God’s agency. But because what happens seems to be a context-sensitive gift which comes not from humans, the situation is open to interpret it as an immediate encounter with God. Such a situation is undecidable: this might be an immediate encounter with God (just implemented in natural means); or it might be a purely mediate gift which seems to be context-sensitive by chance. In any case, one has the same reason to praise God, but the amount of comfort to draw from this would be different. So in the practical case, interpretable immediate contact with God generates an amount of comfort between that of mediate gifts and (uninterpretable) immediate contact with God.

Cream white contact 1: God comforts Paul by the arrival of Titus

“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.” (II Cor 7:6-7 NIV)

What does this mean?

Cream white contact 2: supernatural gifts

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (I Cor 13:1-2 NIV)

This is case that hardly fits in the “cream white contact” category … because here, supernatural experiences are involved, but the other two above conditions apply: it seems to be an individual gift and the result is just as intended by the transmitting human. So, it has the “good, self-supporting system” character from mediate gifts, and the supernatural character from immediate gifts. One can clearly see God’s agency, but it is not clear what part of this gift’s context-sensitivity is God’s and what is human’s. So the immediateness of this gift form God remains open to interpretation.

When a man courts a woman, what is it, and what should it be?

You may recall your own experiences here, and I hope you agree that the worst thing that can be called “courting” is the uncovered, dumb, straightforward desire to get a woman into bed. And in the best case, courting is to long for her in a more subtle, less explicit way. What these courting styles have in common is that they express a longing. Now such a feeling is natural to have and not evil per se … nevertheless, it is egoistic if not complemented by love that wants to give.

Really, can anyone think a woman wants to be just longed for? Not rather, cared for, invited by her lover to come into a situation where she feels at home?

Note that this thought is inspired by observations: there are men, longing for a woman, perhaps getting one … but unable to live a love relationship with her as they never learned that their woman cannot be just the object to fulfill their longing.

Created: 2007-07-27 14:14
Last siginificant change: 2007-07-27 14:15