Friday, May 31, 2019

Google Docs Desperately Needs Styles

Yes, Google Docs has Heading styles, which can be modified, but:

1) they can't be used as character styles

2) you're limited to just the few styles provided

3) styled paragraphs using heading styles then show up in the Navigator and Table of Contents, etc, making these features useless.

Google Docs desperately needs styles.

(LibreWriter is such a better word processor than Google Docs or Microsoft Word, but LibreOffice.org doesn't maintain an online version (which is needful to move from computer to computer while having access to a centralized document repository), and there are "issues" with the third-party online versions I've tried (https://www.rollapp.com/home and https://www.offidocs.com/index.php/libreoffice-file-manager-online).)

As much as I like LibreWriter, the sharing features and access-from-anywhere feature of Google Docs sometimes makes it the better option. But it sure is a weak word-processor. (And Microsoft Office365's offerings just make me feel dirty.)

Google Docs desperately needs styles.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Biology Experiment

On my drive to work today, a thought crossed my mind.

Since our bodies have more viruses/bacteria than own own cells, we are not really individuals; we're biomes.

I wonder if a married couple sharing their biomes become similar in part because of the shared biome.

So I thought of this experiment:

Find two volunteers (a male and a female, of similar age), who know nothing of one another.

After verifying that neither has a communicable disease, the experimenter would act as an agent to share their biome with each other as much as possible: mouth biome, face biome, genital biome, hand biome, torso biome, hair biome, etc.

After a period of time (three months? a year?), bring the couple together into a common living arrangement for a short while (a week?) and observe how they get along, and whether they have similar habits, etc.

I'm not sure yet how best to do this, how to have a control group, etc, but I think it has potential to be a very interesting experiment.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Concerning the "Crux of Christianity"

WEB Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one: 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’This is the first commandment. 31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. [Matt 22:]40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

32 The scribe said to him, “Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he, 33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from God’s Kingdom.”
It's not about whole burnt offerings and sacrifices, or about what day is our "worship day", or how many cups we have in the Lord's Supper, or whether your body sways in the final verse of "Just As I Am"; it's about our relationship with God, and with one-another.

Jesus has repaired our relationship with God; we need to repair our relationships with one-another.

Here's a sampling of what God wants and doesn't want from us:

WEB Amos 5:6 Seek Yahweh, and you will live; ... 7
You who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth: ... 11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor, and take taxes from him [while you live high and mighty in fancy stone houses] ... how many your offenses, and how great are your sins—you who afflict the just, who take a bribe, and who turn aside the needy in the courts. ... 14 Seek good, and not evil ... 15 Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the courts. ... [As it currently is,] 21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I can’t stand your solemn assemblies.22 Yes, though you offer me your burnt offerings and meal offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat animals. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like rivers, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
No matter how perfect our solemn assemblies may be on paper, if our relationships are sour with one-another, he hates our assemblies.

Jesus said this:

WEB Matt 5:23 “If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Relationship-repairing trumps being at church on Sunday morning.

And remember in Matthew 25, when the son of Man separates the "sheep" from the "goats". Does he make the separation based on their doctrinal beliefs? On their allowing of women to speak in assemblies? On their teaching concerning the so-called "Rapture"? No. He separates them based on how they treated one another.

And James tells us what pure religion is:

WEB Jam 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James also tells us how to fulfill the Royal Law:
WEB Jam 2:8 However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well.
Paul tells us how to fulfill the Law of Christ:
Web Gal 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
YHWH tells us what it is to know him:
NIV Jer 22:16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.
and what it is that he requires:
WEB Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
Over and over the message is justice, mercy, burden-sharing, freeing from oppression, healing - it's not "Can we observe Christmas?" or "Is one sip of alcohol going to send me to hell?"

Here's a snippet of the first sermon Jesus gave as he started his three-year ministry:

WEB Luke 3 4:17 The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, 19 and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
(Our churches should be sponsoring college students to study how to be social workers (healing the broken-hearted), to be lawyers (providing justice to the falsely-accused and oppressed), to be medical researchers and doctors (to heal blindness), to be financial counselors (to help get people out of crushing debt), as well as to be preachers - in short, to be Social Justice Warriors (as bad as that term is politically amongst many of us). The students could then pay back the church by offering reduced-price/free services for a decade, or hefty contributions toward the next generation's education, or ....)

Here's what Jesus said about meticulous detail to legalities as opposed to being other-focused, and as to which of the two is weightier:

WEB Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith.
Even our assemblies are never stated to be for the purpose of God-focus; rather, they're to be one-another focused.
WEB Heb 10:24 Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.
and
WEB 1 Cor 14:26 What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up.
Yes, worship takes place in the assembly (e.g., 1 Cor 14:25), as it should "day and night" (e.g. Luke 2:37), but that's not the purpose of assembling. It can be perfectly good worship, but if it doesn't benefit the others in the assembly, it doesn't belong in the assembly (1 Cor 14:17); this is because the assembly's purpose is not vertically-focused toward God, but horizontally-focused toward one-another. Even the Lord's Supper, if it excludes the one-anotherness of recognizing the body of believers, is not really the Lord's Supper, and the fix for this is not to "worship better", but to "wait for one another" (1 Cor 11:17-34).

Over and over: It's not about rituals; it's about relationships.

The Crux

The cross is the crux of the work Jesus did, sacrificing himself for the good of others.

The one-anotherness is the crux of the work we are to do; sacrificing ourselves for the good of others.

The New Covenant - Relationships

The new covenant is not about swapping out one legal system for another, in order to "be saved".

It's about restoring Eden, wherein there is no violence, disease, death.

As humans, we can only do so much toward this goal (and will have to wait for Jesus' return for most of it), so Jesus emphasized what we *can* do, and that's to have a God-at-the-top community, wherein the citizens treat each other with mutual respect, bearing one anothers' burdens, helping the widow and orphan and sick, never seeking vengeance or responding with "oh no you did'n!" as you plan a way to "teach them a lesson" or flipping off the bad driver who cut you off in traffic.

In short, the good news is supposed to result in a social healing at our hands; the mental and physical healing comes at the hands of God.

It's not about what we eat or drink or what day we worship or our church organization or what rituals we observe; it's about how we treat each other. This is the crux of Christianity - one-another relationships.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Pressed on Every Side

WEB Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands,

What Paul tells the pagans is one of the things that earned the early Christians the label of "atheists" (seen post-New Testament, mostly, although you do see a hint of it in Acts 19:26).

The Greco-Roman world could not conceive of a god that didn't live in a physical temple, and the lack of a physical temple amongst the Christians led the Greeks and Romans to conclude that whatever these new "Christians" were, they must be atheists.

On the one hand, the Jews were "hearing" the message from Christians that they had rejected their long-sought after Messiah (who looked nothing like what they had expected), and that this Messiah had put an end to the necessity of Law-keeping, and that God was an entirely different Being than they "knew" him to be, while on the other hand the Greco-Romans were "hearing" strange new things they had never heard before (Acts 17:19-20) which threatened their own Deities and livelihoods (Acts 19:27).

The push-back from both Jews and Gentiles drove Paul to say (twice):
We are pressed on every side.... (2 Cor 4:8)
... we were afflicted on every side. (2 Cor 7:5)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Reflections on Jewish Holy Days


In the Jewish Law of Moses, the Jews were given seven holy days to observe yearly.

The first three of these seven, the Spring Feasts (mid-April-ish), represent the Suffering Messiah. They all occur/begin within three days of each other.

1) Passover (Pesach)

In the middle of the month of Nisan (roughly April), this feast served to remind the Israelites that God had delivered them out of Egyptian slavery (a la "The Ten Commandments" story). The last plague on Egypt, which led to the Exodus, was the death of the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt. The Israelite sons were spared, because the Israelite families had each sacrificed a lamb that night, and painted the lamb's blood on the door frame of the house, signifying that in this house was a firstborn son belonging to the God of Israel, so that the Angel of Death would "pass over" this house.

Jesus fulfilled Passover, becoming our Passover lamb. His blood was shed, and covers us. He was crucified on Passover.

2) Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matza)

This week-long festival begins the day after Passover. The eating of unleavened bread for seven days symbolizes a perfect period of purity. With leaven being a symbol of sin, and Jesus being sinless, Jesus makes the perfect representation of unleavened bread, and like the piercings which form stripes in unleavened matzo bread, he was beaten with stripes and pierced for our transgressions, and like the afikomen of the Passover meal (the middle piece of bread that is broken, wrapped in linen, and hidden for a short while), the body of Jesus was broken, wrapped in linen, and hidden in the tomb for a short while.

3) First Fruits

A representative sampling from the first harvest of the summer is offered as the "first fruits". This holy day is the day after the "high sabbath" of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Jesus, rising from the dead, became the First Fruits of the resurrection; at the end of the growing season, the full harvest will result in the rest of us attaining to the resurrection.

Easter is the early church's celebration of Jesus as the First Fruits of the resurrection.

4) Pentecost (Shavuot)

Fifty days after Passover, this holy day commemorates the giving of the Law on Mt Sinai, when God came down in fire and established the Mosaic covenant. You may recall that at that time the Rebellion of Korah resulted in the death of about 3000 souls.

In Acts 2 we read about another Pentecost, when a new covenant was established, when the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire, and resulted in the saving of about 3000 souls.

All four of the above holy days have had a New Covenant fulfillment. 

The next three Fall Feasts (September/October) represent the coming of the Conquering King.

5) Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah, Rosh Hashana)

This is the Jewish (civil) New Year, and begins a ten-day period of self-reflection, forgiveness, repentance, remembrance of God's judgment, and joy. God also examines the lives of his people during this time, by opening the Book of Life; if the person's record shows more good than bad, the name remains written in the Book of Life for another year. The Jewish trumpet (shofar) is blown many times during this period.

You may be familiar with the New Testament promises of the return of Jesus at the last trump, when the dead in Christ shall be the first to rise, to then stand before the Judgment Seat of God who then searches the records in the Book of Life.

The above Rosh Hashana feast and the next Yom Kippur feast are the two Jewish High Holy Days.

6) Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Ten days later is the Day of Atonement. It's a day of repentance, prayer, fasting, and reconciliation. On this day, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holiest Places in the Temple, after offering a sacrifice for the sins of himself and the people. He's the only one ever allowed in there (so the Jews started tying a rope to him to pull out his body should the Lord not accept his offering and strike him dead), and only on this one day of the year. When the priest returns from the Holiest of Holies, the people rejoice, for God has accepted the sacrifice. Compare the first half of Hebrews 9.

Jesus has gone into the Holiest of the Holies (second half of Hebrews 9), and he "will appear a second time, without sin, to those who are eagerly waiting for him for salvation" (Heb 9:28).

7) Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)

Five days after the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths reminds the Jews, who live in temporary booths during this feast, of their forty years in the wilderness, when they lived in tents, until they could move into permanent homes in the Promised Land.

In Jesus' day, the people carried torches around the walls of the temple to demonstrate that the Christ would be a light to the Gentiles (non-Jewish nations). It was at this feast (John 7:2) that Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).

The priest also performed a water ritual as a symbolic pouring out of the Spirit.
You may recall that Paul wrote to the Corinthians about dwelling in earthly tabernacles (our bodies), to be replaced with heavenly tabernacles when we reach the "Promised Land". He adds, "God ... also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit" (1 Cor 5:5).

The fulfillment of these last three holy days are yet in our future.

The better we understand these seven Jewish feasts, the better we'll understand the context of much of New Testament writing.

New Conversion Rules for non-Jews

Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit....
 -- WEB Matt 28:19
In the Jewish culture of the time, the "nations" (the non-Jews) could only be joined to the People of God (Israel) by:
  1. undergoing circumcision and
  2. being immersed in water and
  3. keeping the law of Moses.
In Acts 15 we read that the strict sect of Jewish Christianity demanded that the newly-believing-and-baptized non-Jews must also be circumcised and keep the law of Moses:
But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
 -- WEB Acts 15:5
After considerable debate, the church, aided by the Holy Spirit, decided that belief and baptism, without being circumcised and without keeping the law of Moses, was enough for the non-Jewish nations, just as Jesus had instructed in the Great Commission.

And Paul makes it clear that these non-circumcised immersed believers had been grafted into God's People, making one man of the two sects, the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision (Eph 2) becoming one body, via one baptism, in one spirit, in one faith, with one Lord, under one God and Father (Eph 4).

Monday, March 25, 2019

Immutable Text Sections in LibreOffice Writer

Suppose you have a document in LibreOffice Writer, and you need to prevent changes to one or more sections.

Easy.

Say this is your document:
This text needs to be immutable.
This text does not. 
 Highlight the first section you need to be unalterable:
This text needs to be immutable.
This text does not. 
Then go to Insert / Section. In the "New Section" field, change "Section1" (if you so desire) and rename it to something like "Immutable 1". Then tick the "Protect" box, and finally click on Insert.

That line of text is now unchangeable.

And if you're an emacs fan, emacs can do this also by changing the Properties of the text to read-only.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Fossil Record Testifies of Rapid Deposition

Practically every fossil found testifies to a rapid burial in a catastrophic (locally, at a minimum) inundation of sediment, borne usually by water (but sometimes by wind, avalanche, volcanic ash-fall, etc).

There are billions of fossils world-wide, in layer after layer of deposited sediment, sometimes stretching through several layers. Each of these fossils testify to a rapid burial as opposed to slow, almost imperceptible processes.

Just sayin'.

Originally published at:

https://kentwest.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-fossil-record-testifies-of-rapid.html