Sunday, April 29, 2012

Capacity Focus, 40: Google's Asus-built Nexus Android Tegra-2 dual ARM processor core Tablet, US$ 149, come July?

SlashGear is reporting that Google expects to release an Asus-built Android 7" tablet; it seems (from a hint in a Guardian article) "probably" by July:

The (apparently now "scrapped") proposed
Asus MeMo 370T, which is the
"ancestor" for the Google Nexus

According to Chris Davis of SlashGear, in the same April 6th report:

Currently, the Nexus tablet’s specifications are believed to include a 7-inch display – potentially running at 1280 x 800 resolution, a jump from the more typical 1024 x 600 – along with NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chipset and WiFi connectivity, though no cellular modem. OS is Ice Cream Sandwich, the first version of Android specifically designed to run on both phones and tablets.

Speculation that Google could be delaying the planned release so as to preload the next-gen version of Android, Jelly Bean, is unfounded the sources claim. Such a move would supposedly require some reworking of the current design, which would take Google and ASUS longer than the two month schedule change being talked about now.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard of potential spec changes so as to shave away at the market price. Last month, Google was tipped to be ditching Tegra 3 in favor of a cheaper chip – potentially the previous-gen Tegra 2 – with the design for the slate repurposing the Eee Pad MeMo 370T that ASUS showed us at CES 2012 in January.
Wikipedia gives us a heads up on the Nvidia Tegra ARM architecture chip, where Tegra-2 is dual processor core and Tegra-3 is quad core:
Tegra, developed by Nvidia, is a system on a chip (SoC) series for mobile devices such as smartphones, personal digital assistants, and mobile Internet devices. The Tegra integrates the ARM architecture processor central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), northbridge, southbridge, and memory controller onto one package. The series emphasizes low power consumption and high performance for playing audio and video.
Apparently, the intention had been to go for a quad core, but that would perhaps have added US$50 - 100 to the cost. That would not be viable for a 7" tablet, the emerging "economy" form factor.

Similarly, it is worth noting that Windows 8, slated for release within a year, has a version, RT, for the ARM chip. The new Windows is set up to come up in a tablet-oriented format, and one will have to pull up an option to go to the more familiar Windows interface, even with a conventional desktop or laptop pc.

To get some perspective, we could clip an April 16th Guardian report:
Gartner's Carolina Milanesi put out a forecast for the tablet market last week in which she predicted that Apple will continue to dominate the field through to 2016, selling 169m per year by 2016 (compared to just under 40m last year), while Android tablets will ship 137m (compared to 17.3m last year) and Windows 8-based tablets only 43m (in 2011: 0).
Graphic (fair use), where the dotted lines are the April 11 forecast and the solid ones the current forecast:

In short the Tablet market is lagging early optimistic forecasts, but will plainly be in the hundreds of millions over the next several years. The tablet is here to stay, and in particular the Android tablet is here to stay. That gets a boost from how Android smart phones are selling very well thank you.

But, where does this open up room for the education tablet that has been under discussion?

Let's remember the Ubislate, which is US$ 60 - 70 or so, from India, though the resistive technology screen is more a stylus screen than a touch screen. (Capacitive touch seems to be better for the finger.) 

The Coby Kyros MID 7022 gives a picture of the current  7" "whitebox" budget tablet market (sugg, retail US$ 175):


This is the market product/price point that, credibly, is about to be hit by what is likely to be a US$ 150 Google brand dual core device. When the dust settles, such devices will have to move down to perhaps US$ 30 or more clear below the Google device, or it will make sense to pay a bit more and go for a big name brand, higher performance device. Nextag lists it as US$122 - 166, from several sellers.

So, the educational tablet at an attractive price-point clearly looms over the horizon. END

Friday, April 27, 2012

Capacity Focus, 39: Using Modular course delivery and part time (evening or summer school) access to implement the proposed AA CCS programme

As we continue to reflect on the proposed AACCS programme for implementation based on a cyber campus and local micro-campus centres [cf. some preliminary thoughts here and here, also here and onward], the issue of modes for accessing the programme naturally comes up. 

The issue, is, how do we develop a programme that does not demand that students spend their full time on campus for two years? 

The answer, as is now traditional, is to use a slower paced, part time access mode that "nominally" takes twice as long:


For instance, the programme could be accessed through two or three eventing and/or weekend sessions, and/or through four intensive summer sessions or a blend of the two, or even a blend with a full time access mode as well. 

The duration, of course, can be shortened by granting transfer credits and/or accrediting prior and experiential learning. That gives great flexibility. 

In addition, it should be obvious that the year blocks are useful units of study in themselves, well worth a short-course certificate. (Statements of participation and achievement for individual courses would be useful for credit-banking and even employment purposes.)

This also brings to bear a handy way to budget for and support the programme in a given micro-campus in a community, as supporting one course at a time, using one small set of resources and a facilitator is much less of a strain on resources than the requisites of launching a full-fledged campus. It has already been shown (see the just linked) that a couple of runs with a couple of dozen students at modest fee rates could fund the programme as a going concern. That modest cost to extend the network will also promote rapid growth once the idea starts to snowball.

Of course, it would also be not too hard to gain sponsorship for setting up a small micro-campus facility, then for sponsoring scholarships for students. 

The main facility required in a local campus (assuming something like a church office already exists and can carry a modest administrative load) would be a broadband-linked multimedia seminar room, such as:


Central initial development costs and administration and co-ordination costs would require separate support, but if we have a growing, effective programme, such should also not be too hard to do.

And with this, we are clearly approaching the end of the "shoestring era" in the development of the AACCS programme:

1 --> We have a viable framework for an associate degree level programme, from second opportunity secondary studies, to bridging studies to a plainly viable Associate degree.

2 --> We have a programme structure ["architecture"], based on the classic Greek Temple model, as is illustrated above.

3 --> We have a demonstration course that shows the feasibility of online content delivery and that of a powerful survey theology course as a means to give backbone to "lay leaders" in training for the church, the NCSTS street level systematic theology survey.

4 --> We have several possible modes of delivery (as this post discusses)

5 --> We have a tested layout for a microcampus centre multimedia training facility (as is illustrated above)

6 --> We have an idea of what it would cost to run the system, and can estimate what it would cost to set up such microcampus centres, case by case.


7 --> Thanks to the broad penetration of broadband internet in the region, and the affordable availability of computer and network technologies (as well as of technical support people) we have a viable basis for a cybercampus and for access points in communities.


8 --> Because of the coming wave of 7" Android tablet PCs with vinyl folders and keyboards for approx. US$ 100, we have a viable ebook reader and computing platform for students:
9 --> The rise of similar thin client PCs [of similar internal power to the tablet or smart phone, but able to access "cloud" resources through the local server or the general internet)  that can piggyback on LCD monitors and integrate with a server for each local network, gives us a cost effective network technology for microcampus centres.


10 --> The rise of digital library technologies and the possibility of suitable partners in the region [i.e. existing seminary libraries with appropriate staff and facilities] means that we can credibly develop a major reference resource for education and training.
What this really means is that either we do it, to advance the gospel in the region and the world, or someone else will do something much like this, to our detriment.

Time is short, and the water is rising, with more -- and very well funded, thank you -- tidal wave surges from the North and the East on the way:



Somehow, I find this a much better alternative future, and -- given what the proposed AACCS would equip people to do -- a quite obviously feasible one:



So, the issue comes back down to: are we willing to invest the focus, effort and resources to develop, roll out and implement the programme [in a suitably fully developed form], sustaining it across time so it develops its full impact? 

That is, why not now, why not here, why not us? [Cf Esther 4, esp vv 12 - 14.] END

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

1 Chron 12:32 Report 105 & Capacity Focus 38: An initially nearly complete street-survey of systematic theology (based on the historic Nicene Creed), for the AACCS

For the past couple of months, activity here at the KF blog has been lowish. That is because -- having finally broken through a case of writer's block -- I have been working on the street-level, Nicene Creed based systematic theology survey that is intended to serve as a proof of concept course for the Associate-level programme that is a long-term project, previously discussed here at KF.

We can get an idea of the significance of all this by looking at a diagram and snippet from the latest unit, on the church in community:
Given our challenges, our location and our potential, a serious renewal and reformation movement of the Caribbean church and peoples would have significant potential for creating a viable and globally exportable discipleship and positive cultural transformation model for the church in the wider world. In addition, using similar estimation methods to the Chinese church's Back to Jerusalem vision, we easily have potential to field a Missionary effort of 8,000 as a "tithe" on our "reasonable" full time worker-equivalent potential of 1% of active Christians:



 Here, the three triangles strategy sees the Caribbean as having two zones, the Afro- and Asio- Caribbean triangles to the North and West and to the South East respectively. We thus have people who descend from the peoples of the 10/40 Window and who through the gospel have across our painful history found redemption, renewal and empowerment. We thus can bridge North and South, East and West, and have a particular potential in the 10/40 Window, where we do not carry with us the taint of being associated with the history of colonial domination. (We were, after all, the first zone of European colonialisation, not the colonisers.)

We bear witness to what the gospel can do, and we are therefore in a position to reach out, to the North, and to the East.


The potential impact of a global missionary effort on that scope  is to be seen in light of the scale of Paul's Missionary Company, which changed the course of history for the world. For, the number of the workers involved probably did not exceed 100 altogether, about one Century or a light Company. Similarly, in the 1840's just 100 former slave Jamaican Baptists went to West Africa as Missionaries and had considerable impact.


We are talking here about maybe eighty companies of similar size, or -- again comparing in terms of the scale of military units: a reinforced Legion or a light Division. Do-able.


So, why can't we do it again, but this time with the power of the global Internet behind us? (Cf. the MVAT Kit
here.)
 That is one facet of the work. 

But there is more, for we are facing a major challenge in the region and urgently need to equip significant numbers of disciples to stand on the streets and to lead more soundly in our churches (not to mention, to function more effectively with practical, "tent-making" skills) in light of the two tidal wave challenges that face the region:
. . . we are now in the age of Google, YouTube, blogs and other freely accessible web soap-box and forum technologies, Dan Brown and his The Da Vinci Code, the vituperative New Atheists, Radical IslamISTS, and many others.

As a result, we now face a flood of superficially persuasive and atmosphere-poisoning materials that target God, the Scriptures, Jesus, the Christian Faith and Christians today (including personal hate and slander sites) and much more. This backs up an unprecedented and rising tidal wave of direct and undermining attacks against the Christian faith in the Caribbean and elsewhere that we can find on our streets, on our verandahs, on our TV's and computers, in our schools and offices, and even in our churches.


A flood of attacks that finds us too often in a sad spiritual condition, and by and large utterly unprepared to soundly answer on
the reason for the hope that we have:

All of this leads to the significance of the NCSTS course:
Course Units
The intent for courses like this is that they should be components of the proposed Associate in Arts, Concentration in Caribbean Christian Service, of approximately 60 credits; perhaps as follows:


 The NCSTS, of course, is one half of pillar no 2 above (i.e. of a 6-credit two-course sequence), the second part being an issues course, cf here for a slide collection that lays out intended content of that. 

The key technology for the programme is, as was discussed here at KF recently, the projected rise over the next year or so of seven-inch screen Android tablets usable with small keyboards, and coming in folders, for about US$100. which is now comparable to the cost of a single major College textbook:

The key concept is to develop a cyber campus backed by a digital library that interacts with local micro-campus centres hosting multimedia seminar rooms connected to the broadband Internet, perhaps like this:


To fully develop the envisioned programme, there will be a need for institutional support, content developers, for technology resource people, for partner churches and individual partners who are willing to invest in the vision in many ways.

In weeks and months to come, DV, such and other matters will be taken up.

So, now, the Mordecai challenge (as usual) is before us: why not now, why not here, why not us? END

Saturday, April 14, 2012

1 Chron 12:32 report 104: The Pink Cross interviews a former porn movie director, leading to implications for the twelve step addiction recovery approach

Over the past year or so, I have adverted to the Pink Cross Foundation as a go to on the porno plague. This has hit a nerve, to the point where it is a factor in the hate site reactions. (Cf KF posts here, here, here and here on shocking statistics, which triggered the reactions.)

It is time to go back to Pink Cross, for some heavy artillery; here, an interview with a porn film producer with Hustler, But first, you may want to pause and watch Ms Shelley Lubben's testimony before California lawmakers:


Now, we can hear from an ex producer, Christopher Gregory, highlighting some key points:
Shelley: Did things that happened in your childhood have an influence on your choice to be a porn producer?
Christopher: Did things happen in my childhood affect my decision? Yes, only in the respect that I was in my early 20's when my father died, I grew up in a traditional Christian home, actually, I got saved when I was 8 years old, but when I became older, after the loss of my dad, I grew angry and as most angry young men, I took off and found myself doing whatever I could to fill that void in my life. I thought everything and everyone was against me, even God, in my mind, left me. So as I grew older and travelled more and experienced more, it opened the door to the film industry and eventually leading me to Larry Flynt’s door . . . 

Shelley: What is your worst memory?
Christopher: My worst memory was on the set of a Hustler film, I was shooting on location and the drug use was rampant with the talent, yet I was told to get it finished (it was a 5 days shoot) any which way I had to. If anybody tells you the porn industry does not endorse drug use is a liar. I've had my fair share of working with girls who worked with every top studio from Wicked to Hustler to Vivid and it was commonplace to make sure the girl(s) were ready, even if that meant drunk (alcohol was always provided and actually I was told when I first started working for Hustler, to provide alcohol on set, because it loosened up the people involved. Crazy . . . .

Shelley: What did you see going on the porn sets?
Christopher: I've seen some crazy things, drug habits, overdoses, fights between girls or girls and their boyfriends, boyfriends bringing their girlfriends to set bruised up, forcing them to perform simply to get a check. Again crazy things. I've seen girls come out of prison and go straight into this business. I've had a girl get pregnant from a movie I did for Hustler, there was no protection because Hustler and LFP frowned on condom use on set. Last I heard she was on probation and delivered the baby in jail. It was insane. But it was not uncommon for girls to get pregnant from a set shoot and then paid to have an abortion. This is the well-kept secret in the industry, Hustler, Vivid, Playboy all have a direct working relationship with Planned Parenthood and together they make a lot of money from one another. Girls would be told if they even were thought to be pregnant, they were given a pill (morning after) and it does happen quite a lot in the business.

Shelley: Were any of the women ever coerced or forced into doing sex acts they weren’t comfortable with?
Christopher: All the time. You have to remember, in the studio's eyes women are nothing but meat. They are literally slaves, with the illusion of fame and fortune, but take it from me, they are not free moral agents in most circumstances, they are guided by habits, physical violence at home, or they are struggling to make payments on a mortgage. Nobody goes into this business for the "fun" of it . . . .

Shelley: Are people in porn able to have loving relationships, marriages?
Christopher: No. It is impossible to separate the two for they are one and the same. Sooner or later that world, just like every other aspect of Hollywood, seeps into the private lives of those involved and the casualties are piling up. When I came into the business, I worked with a producer who was married and the marriage practically ended up in ruins. The most foolish thing one can say is that it doesn't affect one’s life, but it does. I've known many who allowed their wives to act or do sex scenes with other men - or women, then they have a private affair and the man goes nuts -why? You weren't so concerned when she was having sex with another man on set? The justification in the mind simply doesn't make sense. The price for sin has always been an expensive one.
Shelley: How did you get out of porn? Who saved or helped you?
Christopher: I had a praying mom. I was in Los Angeles for a week, I was to meet execs from Vivid and then to meet execs from a mainstream studio, things were changing with me and I was barely holding on to my seat. That evening I was looking out my hotel room window, I watched the planes coming into LAX, they all lined up, and I thought, "They know where they're going" but I didn't. It wasn't until a few nights later, I went to sleep one night, and I had just got a call from a certain friend (Pauly Shore) and all I can explain is that I went to sleep and suddenly had a vision. I saw myself standing by the side of the road, it was raining and I saw my body lying in the street under a crumbled car, I was obviously in a car crash and I knew I didn't survive. I turned to the right and a black hole suddenly appeared out of nowhere as I found myself being pulled into it. I took one last look back, to catch a glimpse and there was one desire, if I could I would have fought to stay there, but the blackness over took me and I found myself moving deeper into what seemed like a tunnel of rock as I went further down, deep into the caverns and I knew within my spirit I was going to hell. The next thing I knew I was standing in an open space where I saw three holding cells, they were cubicle in design, but formed out of the earth and rock, and I knew that one of them was where I was going to be placed. I stood and contemplated my life and I knew that I would never come out of this place, this horrible place and more importantly, I would never hear my mom pray for me again - I was lost, without hope, without grace without Christ. Then suddenly, I was thrown back into the light and I woke up. I found myself in my bed, but my bed was literally covered in sweat, I had soaked my bed!
It was weeks later that I was driving back home, when I could literally hear God speak to my heart and he told me he was giving me a chance to make things right. Then one particular afternoon, I felt God convict my heart and I knew God was dealing with me to come home. I fought it at first, but then I simply asked Christ into my life and suddenly I knew, God loved me! Christ came into my life, forgave me of every wrong I ever did, he saved me from sin, death and hell. I cried all night practically, but I was overjoyed because I gave my life to Jesus Christ and he loved me enough that he saved me! Everything was gone, the sin, the guilt, the hate, the anger, everything, it was all gone the minute I accepted Christ into my life.
Since then I am preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, a restored man who is new in Christ and telling the world that there is second chances - I'm living proof . . . [More]
In short there are many roads into the porn trap, but the pleasures of sin are fleeting indeed, and ruinously expensive. 

Notice, how the presence of alcohol and drugs is an important part in benumbing participants in the porn acts, as is financial pressure, as is intimidation and outright violence. 

So is the escalation of cost, actresses [so-called] agree to one thing then find themselves forced to do far more, with financial, social and physical intimidation backing it up. And other information accessible through linked videos [warning, fairly shocking and in at least one case behind a you must be of age wall] speaks of actresses being torn up inside and bleeding on the set, crying out from pain and begging to have the action stop, or in at least one case trying to walk away right then and there on the set. Of course, the bleeding is usually neatly edited out.

Deceptive, ensnaring, addictive, damaging, unhealthy and outright destructive.

Every marker of evil you want.

However, notice the recovery road: straight through the gospel and penitence.

Exactly what we should expect from the force of the gospel as liberation from sinful bondage:
1 Cor 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [NIV,'84]
In short, we here see a live case on the liberating power of the gospel, tied to one of the plagues of our time, pornography; to which the twelve step approach is a bridge. Clearly, we need to expose the evils of our time, and point (and demonstrate) the road to recovery. END

_________

F/N: Let me update by clipping the linked discussion of the 12-step recovery process in the NCSTS, unit 6:
>>  the counsel of Peter:

2 Pet 1: 1 Simeon  Peter, a servant2  and apostle of Jesus Christ, 
   
      To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to  his own glory and excellence,  4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,  and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.


8 For if these qualities  are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.


10 Therefore, brothers, 
be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [ESV]
 We may set alongside these great passages, 1 Cor 6:9 - 11:
1 Cor 6: 9 . . . do you not know that the unrighteous  will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.


11 And such were some of you.


But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [ESV]
"Drunkards" is a good paradigm case of the dynamics of addictive bondage to sin, and the transformation wrought in Christ. So also, the now classic twelve-step recovery road for the alcoholic and other addicts -- sin is inherently addictive and enmeshing -- is a good illustration of the principles of repentance, recovery and transformation of life through discipleship in the face of life-dominating, addictive, destructive sins.

Here
, we can find as a model the now famous twelve steps, presented by Alcoholics Anonymous in their "big book":
Rarely  have  we  seen  a  person  fail  who  has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give  themselves  to  this  simple  program,  usually  men and women who are constitutionally incapable of be-ing  honest  with  themselves . . . . If you have decided you want what we have and are willing  to  go  to  any  length  to  get  it—then  you  are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could find  an  easier,  softer  way.  But  we  could  not . . . . Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baf-fling,  powerful!  Without  help  it  is  too  much  for  us. 
But there is One who has all power—that One is God.

May you find Him now!


Half measures availed us nothing . . . . Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than our-selves could restore us to sanity.

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.


4.  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


5.  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.[--> This is the famous, pivotal public confession,
"I am an Alcoholic . . . "]

6.  Were  entirely  ready  to  have  God  remove  all these defects of character.


7.  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


8.  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.


9.  Made  direct  amends  to  such  people  wherever possible,  except  when  to  do  so  would  injure them or others.


10.  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.


11.  Sought  through  prayer  and  meditation  to  im-prove our conscious contact with God as we un-derstood  Him,  praying  only  for  knowledge  of His will for us and the power to carry that out.


12.  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many  of  us  exclaimed,  “What  an  order!  I  can’t  go through  with  it.’’  Do  not  be  discouraged.  No  one among us has been able to maintain anything like per-fect adherence to these principles. We are not saints.  The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress.  We  claim  spiritual  progress  rather  than spiritual perfection . . . [Alcoholics Anonymous, "big Book," ch 5, pp.58 - 60.]
 Given the frankly theocentric, penitent sinner approach, it should not be surprising to hear that in the early days, this lay-led movement of addicts in lifelong recovery was often derided and dismissed by professionals, and that spectacular failures -- including a co-founder -- were luridly headlined to dismiss the approach as useless, naive and ill informed. But, in the end, it has been so vindicated by actually working, that it is the model for many similar movements of recovery. (Including from bondage to things like drugs, pornography and homosexual behaviour.)

But, this recovery approach is in reality nothing new, we have just seen in a somewhat generic form, the principles of  transformation of life through discipleship founded on repentance and reaching out to God as Saviour, and to be expressed in a community of mutual support and lifelong growth; knowing that relapse is possible, and that moral-spiritual struggle is inevitable.


This, we may see in Eph 4 - 5:

Eph 4: 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance [-->en-darkenment] that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous [-->morally benumbed] and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  [--> addicted to sin]


20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,5  which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


5: 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.


2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.


11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
    
                    “Awake, O sleeper,
        and arise from the dead,
        and Christ will shine on you.”
 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. [ESV]
Discipleship is founded on repentance, trust in the God who saves us, and a fearless and dauntless determination to walk in the light with God and with our brothers and sisters in God.

By the power of the indwelling, upwelling Spirit, we learn to walk in the light and develop the practice of walking in the light ever more and more, day by day, hour by hour.  That requires a special vigilance over that which may benumb the conscience, en-darken the mind, and enmesh us in captivity to life-dominating sin.  Instead, we live by the truth in love, through Jesus, upwelling from within through the Spirit, with the power of love, truth, and purity. Thus, as the people of God, we are transformed in the image of Christ.
>>
 Let us set out on the road of righteousness via repentance, renewal, revival and reformation. That is the only hope for our gravely wounded and already half-dead civilisation.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

1 Chron 12:32 report 103: "Sugar-holics" Anonymous, the twelve-step alcohol/addiction recovery model and the repentance/gospel approach to life recovery and community reformation

A few days ago, the question of sugar as an addicting/habituating substance with serious potential health hazards -- not just diabetes etc, but also potential links to heart and even cancer problems -- was raised in this blog.

This opens the door to the wider issue of the now classic twelve step approach to addiction/habituation recovery and life reconstruction by reaching out to a Higher Power and to a community of the recovering; thence the gospel- repentance- discipleship approach. 

In the classic, Alcoholics Anonymous form, according to the AA "Big Book," Ch 5:
Rarely  have  we  seen  a  person  fail  who  has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give  themselves  to  this  simple  program,  usually  men and women who are constitutionally incapable of be-ing  honest  with  themselves . . . . If you have decided you want what we have and are willing  to  go  to  any  length  to  get  it—then  you  are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could find  an  easier,  softer  way.  But  we  could  not . . . . Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baf-fling,  powerful!  Without  help  it  is  too  much  for  us.
AA then identifies the source of help: "there is One who has all power—that One is God. "

On that pivot, the classic-- and unquestionably highly effective -- twelve step programme is built:
Half measures availed us nothing . . . . Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than our-selves could restore us to sanity.

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.


4.  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


5.  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.[--> This is the famous, pivotal public confession,
"I am an Alcoholic . . . "]

6.  Were  entirely  ready  to  have  God  remove  all these defects of character.


7.  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


8.  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.


9.  Made  direct  amends  to  such  people  wherever possible,  except  when  to  do  so  would  injure them or others.


10.  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.


11.  Sought  through  prayer  and  meditation  to  im-prove our conscious contact with God as we un-derstood  Him,  praying  only  for  knowledge  of His will for us and the power to carry that out.


12.  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many  of  us  exclaimed,  “What  an  order!  I  can’t  go through  with  it.’’  Do  not  be  discouraged.  No  one among us has been able to maintain anything like per-fect adherence to these principles. We are not saints.  The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress.  We  claim  spiritual  progress  rather  than spiritual perfection . . . [Alcoholics Anonymous, "big Book," ch 5, pp.58 - 60.] 
 Given the frankly theocentric, penitent sinner approach, it should not be surprising to hear that in the early days, this lay-led movement of addicts in lifelong recovery was often derided and dismissed by professionals, and that spectacular failures -- including a co-founder -- were luridly headlined to dismiss the approach as useless, naive and ill informed. 

But, in the end, it has been so vindicated by actually working, that it is the model for many similar movements of recovery. (Including from bondage to things like drugs, gambling, pornography and homosexual behaviour.)

But also, this recovery approach is in reality nothing new, for
we have just seen in a somewhat generic form, the principles of  transformation of life through discipleship founded on repentance and reaching out to God as Saviour, and to be expressed in a community of mutual support and lifelong growth; knowing that relapse is possible, and that moral-spiritual struggle is inevitable.

This, we may see in Eph 4 - 5:

Eph 4: 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance [-->en-darkenment] that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous [-->morally benumbed] and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  [--> addicted to sin]


20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,5  which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


5: 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.


2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.


11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
    
                    “Awake, O sleeper,
        and arise from the dead,
        and Christ will shine on you.”
 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. [ESV]
Discipleship is founded on repentance, trust in the God who saves us, and a fearless and dauntless determination to walk in the light with God and with our brothers and sisters in God. 

Paul is direct:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
I know, I know, the inclusion of homosexuals in that list is offensive to the movement now labouring ever so hard to create the impression that homosexual behaviour is normal, acceptable even commendable to the point that those who would question or dispute such claims are immediately suspect of being hateful, fear-driven irrational bigots. Indeed, along with my objections to porn addiction and the industry that promotes it -- cf. here and here, that has excited some pretty hostile commentary in some atheistical quarters of the blogosphere. 

My comments to such are that in fact there is considerable evidence that homosexual habituation is inherently disordered relative to the clear creation order for sexuality, marriage and family, and that it is socio-culturally and psycho-socially induced behaviour, not essentially determined by genes or hormones or the like. It also, with significant results, responds to twelve-step type recovery programmes. Which are the main focus of this post.

(Kindly, cf. the book-length discussion here. I ask you to also notice Jesus on the Creation order for family and marriage here, before shooting off talking points on how he "never opposed" this. He endorsed the OT which makes it plain that such behaviour is abominable perversion, and Paul, who did address the matter in significant details, was his apostle, recognised by the twelve as such, and recognised by Peter as a significant author of scripture. If you now wish to reject 2 Peter as authentic, cf here and here, in light of here. If you wish to reject Paul's teachings here in 1 Cor 6:9 - 11 and in say Rom 1 -- and obviously you can do so if you wish to [but you should think seriously about such in light of here on and here on, you are rejecting the historic Christian faith. Those caught up in rage over the real and imagined sins of Christendom may find here on helpful.)

By the power of the indwelling, upwelling Spirit, we learn to walk in the light and develop the practice of walking in the light ever more and more, day by day, hour by hour.  

That requires a special vigilance over that which may benumb the conscience, en-darken the mind, and enmesh us in captivity to life-dominating sin.  

Instead, we live by the truth in love, through Jesus, upwelling from within through the Spirit, with the power of love, truth, and purity. 

Thus, as the people of God, we are transformed in the image of Christ.

Peter's counsel on this is ever so apt, even eloquent:

1 Pet 1: 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
   
        “All flesh is like grass
        and all its glory like the flower of grass.
        The grass withers,
        and the flower falls,
      25 ​​​​​​​​but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
     
            And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 
2: 1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation- 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:   
                      “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
        a cornerstone chosen and precious,
        and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 
 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,  
                        “The stone that the builders rejected
        has become the cornerstone,”1  
 8 and     
                    “A stone of stumbling,
        and a rock of offense.”
     
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 
 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 
 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Again, and again, in ever so many different ways, we see that the pivot of the Christian life is receiving Jesus through repentance and faith based on the word of God; the gospel. And, that this is the pivot of life-rescue and transformation.

 What the twelve step addiction recovery movements bring to the table, is that we have here a widespread and known highly effective life recovery and reformation approach that shows that the principles of the gospel and of penitent faith leading to discipleship as a means of life transformation work. And, by working in lives, families, churches and communities, they point onwards to God-blessed reformation of cultures and civilisations.

Indeed, it looks to me uncommonly like these twelve-step programmes are pointing out that the miraculous redemptive, rescuing, healing and liberation intervention by God into lives is actually a commonplace. 

In short, signs of God at work -- and a "sign" is exactly what a miracle is --  in lives are to be found all around us, if we are but willing to pause and really listen with an open mind.

And, that seems to me to be a key bridge we can and should be using for ministry and communication of the gospel in our region and the world beyond. END

Monday, April 09, 2012

Capacity Focus, 37: St Gabriel's Catholic school (Austin, Texas) -- iPads in the elementary school class room

It is worth the time to pause and see a KVUE (ABC affiliate, Austin, Texas) report on elementary school kids at St Gabriel's Catholic school (thanks to a donation) working live with iPads in the classroom:

                                    

This is of course a pilot, but it shows us the potential in the tablet revolution. END