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Archives for : July2013

YOUR GOD Panel: Pagan, Atheist and Christian Students

As apart of the YOUR GOD Sydney-wide mission run by AFES (Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students) at many University campuses, I’ll be representing the Christian view on a panel of Pagan, Atheist and Christian students.

I am quite excited about it. I myself have been influenced greatly through many apologetic works, and attribute my faith to the way in which God used those works. I feel apologetics is often overlooked or under-valued in churches and Bible-colleges, so I’m excited to be able to have a real and open discussion about faith on campus. I think University is the perfect place for such discussions.

I believe everyone should question their faith and world-view (Christians and atheists alike.) I certainly advocate this for Christians, not because I want them to loose their faith, but because I believe that it will strengthen their faith for the better. A Christian who continues on emotional conviction won’t have any real intellectual understanding of their faith, and emotions only last so long.

If anyone is around in the Western Sydney area, certainly come along. Thursday the 8th of August 2013 at 1PM, UWS Kingswood Campus in room K.1.04.

Open Source Ministry License

I’ve made a couple of smallish programs that I’ve used to aid ministry at University that have started to grow enough that they may be useful to other ministries, and have recently been thinking about open source license specific to Christian ministries.

Upon having a look around online for it, I cam across this almost decade-old thread about this exact concept, which also links to this quite lengthy discussion. Unfortunately the site it’s on is no longer active and I can’t seem to find what came about of the license other than a few small quotes out of it.

So, I want to bring this idea back, and here are my thoughts of it:

  • It should be applied only to software that was designed with the intention of ministry, rather than every piece of software written by a developer.
  • It should black-list use cases rather than white-list use cases; indicate the software cannot be used for anything anti-Christian or immoral, rather than say it’s only for ministry organisations.
  • It should consider that secular isn’t anti-Christian (though secularization is) and that we shouldn’t prevent it from being used by non-Christian organisations solely for not being Christian (remember, non-Christian doesn’t immediately mean anti-Christian.)
  • The basis for exclusion of some groups from using the software is founded in the idea that the software was originally designed for ministry and shouldn’t be used for the opposite, which is why I don’t think it would be an appropriate license for every single piece of software written by a Christian.

I’m not a bit fan of GPL; it’s too restrictive to be really used well in other programs. I am a big fan of Creative Commons for non-software products because of it’s flexibility (and I wish more Christian’s would license work under a CC license where possible, it would allow for much better sharing of resources and ideas) and the Apache license for software products.

I’m tempted to look into creating a modified version of the Apache license for this. Any thoughts?

"How to Raise Your Kids So They Will Remain in the Faith"

I recently stumbled upon an article entitled How to Raise Your Kids So They Will Remain in the Faith. Well worth a read, though I feel there are probably a couple technicalities in this concept that need to be said. These technicalities go hand in hand.

1. No one is born of a particular faith
You may be born into a culture, into traditions, and to parents who follow a particular faith, but at the heart of the Christian faith is a personal decision between a man and God, and if we were to consider other faiths, it’s between a man and what he chooses to believe (be it true or not.) Thus the word remain may not be the most appropriate word, however I do understand where it is coming from.

2. Salvation can’t be forced
Trying to force someone into a particular faith is ridiculous. Giving strong encouragement and what not is fine; after all, it is someone’s eternal life at stake so you should be taking it seriously; but you don’t convert people. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit. You may be used to provide teaching and encouragement, but I think people identifying with a particular faith simply because it’s what they grew up with is worse than them saying they don’t have any particular faith (and in many cases, harder to reach.) Culture and traditions does not equal faith.

I don’t think the article is saying either of these things, however it would be very easy for someone to assume that it’s what the article was saying from only reading the title. The tips located in the article are very important; especially teaching your children God’s word (which doesn’t mean forcing it upon them, but teaching it to them so they have an opportunity to make an informed choice to be saved when the time is right) and modelling Christ in your lives.

Maybe a slightly better title would be “Raising your kids so that they will be, God willing, be saved.

Edit Outlook.com contacts on an Android phone

The other month the Outlook.com Android app was updated. It changed the Outlook.com app into something that you had to use (if you used Outlook) to something you want to use. Many of the bugs in the previous version (which wasn’t that good to start with) were ironed out, and it got a nice facelift.

One thing that the app does is syncs calendar and contact information with your Android phone as well. The calendar sync was 2-way: add an entry with the web interface and it will sync with the phone, and vice-versa. This is how cloud computing should work, and it’s how it works for your Google Calendar. However, one thing that was always an issue was contacts; contacts would sync from the web based interface onto your phone which was great, but you can’t add a contact to your Outlook.com contact database from your phone. It was just a one way sync.

This happened in the old version, and unfortunately still happens in the new version. However, the other day I was browsing the Microsoft Support forums to see if this is ever going to change, and found the following app: Contact Editor Free. It can edit and add Outlook.com contacts from your phone. In addition, Contact Editor Pro allows some additional features, such as creating a default (otherwise it will always ask you where you want your contact saved: on your phone, on your Google account or on your Outlook.com account.)

So, with that, I’ve pretty much got my Outlook.com account working how I want it with my Android phone. The only thing that isn’t synced in contacts is contact groups, however I am getting around this by using the grouping feature in GO SMS Pro (which can handle groups within the app rather than in the contacts app.)