Undissipated godly thoughts

As quoted on Some Thoughts:

For even though our eyes, in whatever direction they may turn, are compelled to gaze upon God’s works, yet we see how changeable is our attention, and how swiftly are dissipated any godly thoughts that may touch us.

– From John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.xiv.2.

Man, ain’t that the truth!

Some undissipated godly thoughts would be wonderful. I think those long neglected disciplines of meditation, stillness, and silence perhaps hold the key.

Praying for undissipated meditation on the One most deserving of our attentions today . . .

“Be still . . .

. . . and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

– Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

[Hat Tip: Gratitude & Hoopla]


For some reason my time and mental energy have seemed limited lately, at least in this space. I can’t point to any one thing, though there are a few suspects. My attentions have been focused elsewhere, and this may explain both the dearth of posts and their relative lack of depth.

J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote that “It is a curse to have the epic temperament in an age devoted to snappy bits.” Unfortunately, snappy bits seem to be all I can produce these days. But I think that will soon change.

I am learning more about myself. I find that I live to fix, I live to create. Opportunities to “fix” I’ve had in spades recently, as a website that I do the webmastering for has had numerous performance problems recently. All appear to be resolved now. Wooohoo! [Bill does the Dilbert engineer’s victory dance. Be glad you can’t see it]

Then there’s creativity. I’m not a particularly good artist, but one area where I have (if I can say it) been gifted is in the area of software development. I consider it more art than science, and I believe God himself is a programmer. The proof I have is the DNA in every cell of your body. In a small, imperfect, and infinitely less elegant and innovative way, my work on the code for Bloo has been an inspiration to me, because it is my imitation of the creativity of God.

I have been working quite hard on Bloo, preparing to put it into the public domain. I wonder sometimes if this is worth it. I’m not doing it for money, certainly (it will be free, after all). For pride? Possibly. I would be a liar to say that I don’t take pride in my code, because I do. I think every good developer does. But in some ways I believe that this is almost an act of worship. Hear me out: we are told to do everything heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Maybe God will be pleased with my imitation of him, in ways I don’t understand. And perhaps someone will take pleasure in being able to use Bloo to create their blog.

So in my free time-slices I am working heartily on Bloo. I have a lot to do before the end of the month. I’m taking risks in the code, re-factoring some pretty important parts, to get it in the most understandable and maintainable form possible. I’m very thankful I get to work on this. I’m hopeful that when Bloo is released I will be able to devote more time to other creative pursuits, such as writing my stalled novel, or playing my guitar more.

And teaching. That’s one thing that I am concentrating very hard on these days, regardless of the doings in Bloo. I’m so thankful that God is allowing me to teach again!

Good night Blogosphere. God loves you!

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men . . .

– Colossians 3:23 (ESV)

First day with the GAP!

Today was our first day teaching the GAP (Graduates and Professionals) class at church. It was very enjoyable (for us at least. Hopefully they enjoyed it to!). Today we studied Habakkuk 3, which is not a chapter you read everyday, but is one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible, in my opinion. I’ve posted on it before in this space, and probably will again. It just inspires me.

Habakkuk was a man who questioned God, but yet never relinquished his faith, even in the face of tragedy. May I have that same spirit when tragedy strikes.

The ending of chapter three is breathtaking, and I’ll leave you with it:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength;

he makes my feet like the deer’s;

he makes me tread on my high places.

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

– Habakkuk 3:17-19

Bloo v. 0.18 Release Notes

OK, these notes are a bit late. But what the hay.

Here is a summary of the new features and other whatnot I built into the latest version of Bloo. Altogether there were 41 discrete changes made, all worked on in timeslices measured in minutes, or, as I like to put it: “in my copious free time”):

Major changes:

1. Lots and lots (and lots!) of internal reorganization, optimization, bug-fixing, etc.

2. Rewrote the Lists package. So much on a blog is composed of Lists – the quotes, blogroll, system settings, etc are all stored in Lists. My first implementation of Lists was too clever by half (that’s my way of saying it stunk), so I re-wrote that puppy!

3. Now the comment author’s name is a link to their url if they supplied one.

4. Now all the overlays can be loaded by files. Contain your excitement everyone! Heh – actually, I know no one cares but this is huge for the way Bloo works and was another step in my evolving understanding of how I want to do Overlays. One of the more notable features of the planned public domain release (if I can get it done in time!) will be the ability to pretty much change everything about the way your blog appears, on the fly, while still being able to get back to what you had before if you screw up.

5. The Menus in the administration part of the blog (the part you never see 🙂 are now displayed based on your security role.

6. Came up with the concept of Event handlers for a SnapOn. Strap on your Nerdvana helmet, everyone, because this one is huge! The point of it is to allow the developer to enhance SnapOns without the SnapOn’s knowledge, and without recoding it. Now you just attach events to it. For instance, the Gravatar enhancement is an onDisplay event attached to the CommentsDisplay SnapOn – whenever you display a comment it fires this event ot modify the comment display so that the author’s gravatar (if one exists) is shown. I actually turned this off last week (my Gravatar bugged me plus the way I formatted the comments looked like poo) but I may turn it back on if my new Gravatar is now available. Will check after I finish this post. These event handlers, by the way, can be turned on and off on the fly.

7. Now when a draft post is saved as public, the date of the post changes to the current date. This is done via an onSave event handler.

8.I implemented an easy way to do RI constraint checking. If you don’t know what this is, trust me, it’s cool.

9. Created the aforementioned Gravatar onDisplay event handler.

OK, this doesn’t look like much, I know – but there was a lot of great setup for the future done in this release. Some of these enhancements were major re-writes, but it was worth it. More is coming.

I’m currently doing a full code review, and gearing up for the next release. The public domain release is scheduled for February 28-March 2, so I’m getting stoked.

And then I’ll wait for people to start using and extending Bloo. And wait, and wait, and . . . well, we’ll see!

Watch me for the changes . . .

Towels and dishes and sandals

“Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God almighty in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.”

– Oswald Chambers

I’ve added this quote to my quote rotation.

I love that line: “It takes God almighty in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.”

Most of us spend a lot of our time doing “mean duty” – all those thousands of trivial things we do each day. And yet God can glorify even the meanest duty. He can bring significance to what appears to be the most insignificant task at hand.

Thinking interpersonally, he can make the smallest gesture or the most innocuous sentence, when embued with His grace, become something that lights the grey life of the broken and wounded other.

May my thoughts and actions be full of towels and dishes and sandals . . .