Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thoughts on stumbling while teaching

James (Ya'akov) letter to Jewish Believers in Yeshua th Messiah,
chapter 3, first teo verses:
1 Not many of you should become
teachers, my brothers, since you know that we will be judged more
severely.
2 For we all stumble in many ways; if someone does not stumble in what
he says, he is a mature man who can bridle his whole body.

(MRL: I had never noticed this connection of teaching to the passage
on the dangers of our words. James 3:3 an forward discuss how
dangerous our tongue is. But the section starts off talking about
teaching.

He says that it's important to get it right when you teach. I suppose
he's talking about teaching God's message There's a connection here
between stumbling in what you say -- something he says is inevitable
-- and the harsher judgment we'll receive as teachers.

What is the judgment? Surely not a condemnation.)

Sha'ul's letter to the Christians in Rome 8:1 Therefore, there is no
longer any condemnation awaiting those who are in union with the
Messiah Yeshua.

(MRL: What judgment could it be? Certainly we humans hold out teachers
to a high standard. If you presume to occupy my time and make claims
about the truth by teaching me, then I should expect your claims and
your methods to be true.

God also judges, though it's not a judgment leading to condemnation if
the teaher is in union with the Messiah. Though I also believe God
won't prevent us from receiving the consequences if we teach badly.
People may reject us as teachers. The implications of false teaching
can cause pain, too, distracting us from truth and leading others to
make bad choices in their life.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scientific Research vs. Industrial Research

A quotation from C.A.R. Hoare, a British Computer Scientist who started his career in the 1950s:

Pure academic research and applied industrial research are complementary, and should be pursued concurrently and in collaboration. The goal of industrial research is (and should always be) to pluck the 'low-hanging fruit'; that is, to solve the easiest parts of the most prevalent problems, in the particular circumstances of here and now. But the goal of the pure research scientist is exactly the opposite: it is to construct the most general theories, covering the widest possible range of phenomena, and to seek certainty of knowledge that will endure for future generations. It is to avoid the compromises so essential to engineering, and to seek ideals like accuracy of measurement, purity of materials, and correctness of programs, far beyond the current perceived needs of industry or popularity in the market-place. For this reason, it is only scientific research that can prepare mankind for the unknown unknowns of the forever uncertain future.



When an academic leaves school and enters industry, he may be shocked at the difference between academic research and industrial work. A Cisco engineer once told me that his group at Cisco started avoiding people with PhDs, because they weren't satisfied to improve and enhance the existing IOS code-base. They wanted to scrap it all and start over again. Cisco valued stability and gradual enhancement rather than purity and ideals.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Notes on Hebrews 10


Hebrews 10

 1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. (MRL: The author wants us to think about heaven, and not To dismiss the next era for us, after death. It seems somewhat trendy with some followers of Jesus to throw off ideas of a future life, after death and to emphasize only the present life. In this way they might mirror modern Orthodox Judaism, if my understanding from is correct.  They mean to contrast a life that ignores the current life and focuses only on heaven.)

 
For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? (MRL: This tells us Hebrews was written before the destruction of the temple in AD 70.)



For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

 5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: 
   "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, 
      but a body you prepared for me; 
 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings 
      you were not pleased. 
 7Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— 
      I have come to do your will, O God.' "[a




(MRL: I believe that God worked through normal men, in this case Jeremiah, to write the text. God also worked through Paul to write the text, and helped him understand that this text from Yimeyahu applies to the Messiah. I don't know whether Judaism of Sha'ul's and Gamliel's era would have accepted that passage from the prophet as Messianic.)


 8First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 
 16"This is the covenant I will make with them 
      after that time, says the Lord. 
   I will put my laws in their hearts, 
      and I will write them on their minds."[b] 17Then he adds: 
   "Their sins and lawless acts 
      I will remember no more."[c]18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (MRL: In a book to Messianic Jews it seems this verse must refer to synagogue meetings.)

 26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d] and again, "The Lord will judge his people."[e]31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

 35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while, 
   "He who is coming will come and will not delay. 
    38But my righteous one[f] will live by faith. 
   And if he shrinks back, 
      I will not be pleased with him."[g] 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

Footnotes:
  1. Hebrews 10:7 Psalm 40:6-8 (see Septuagint)
  2. Hebrews 10:16 Jer. 31:33
  3. Hebrews 10:17 Jer. 31:34
  4. Hebrews 10:30 Deut. 32:35
  5. Hebrews 10:30 Deut. 32:36; Psalm 135:14
  6. Hebrews 10:38 One early manuscript But the righteous
  7. Hebrews 10:38 Hab. 2:3,4


Monday, October 12, 2009

Backups for Google Docs

Google Documents is really nice; it's not exactly a MS Word replacement, but it's still very useful, especially as a collaboration tool.

You can manually export a document from GDocs. But I can't easily, consistently, reliably (i.e., automatically) back it up. If Google docs is down for the week, or if they decide to cancel the service years from now, then I might lose access to all the work I've put into Google docs.

On October 1, Devraj Mukherjee released gdatacopier 2.0. (I was actually the fourth downloader EVER! Yay! This one is definitely going in my Golden Book of Memories.)

gdatacopier was developed by a consulting company, and the client, De Bertoli Wines, allowed it to be open sourced.

What is it?



gdatacopier is a pair of python scripts to list and copy files from Google Docs to your local filesystem. It supports wildcards, too. For example:


./gcp.py -o -f pdf -u -p markspassword usernamehere@gmail.com:/* $HOME

...makes a PDF backup of all of my Google Documents, in PDF format, to my home directory. It only updates files that have changed in Google docs since the last download.

Want other formats? Use "doc", "xls", "ppt", "html", "oo" (for openoffice) instead of "pdf."

And if I can see a document, then I can download it. So if you share a document with me, * will grab it automatically.


Automated download script



I will have a download job that backs up all of my Google documents. It'll be something like the one shown below. The idea is to extract every file in lots of different file formats; hopefully one of them will be useful years hence.


#!/bin/sh -
##
BACKUP_DIR=$HOME/Documents/google_docs_backup
USERNAME="usernamehere@gmail.com"
PASSWORD="marksPASSWORD"
##
mkdir -p $BACKUP_DIR
##
for format in doc xls html pdf ppt tsv csv zip rtf txt odt ods
do
##
## If the particular format isn't appropriate for the particular
## document, then gcp defaults to the open office format.
##
gcp.py -o -f ${format} -u -p $PASSWORD $USERNAME:/* $BACKUP_DIR
done
##
## End of google docs backup script


Save this as "$HOME/backup_google_docs". Then set the permission to executable (e.g., "chmod 755 $HOME/backup_google_docs").

Then you can add this to your crontab; e.g., add a line like this:

0 2 * * * $HOME/backup_google_docs