Part 2 of Easter weekend with my brother, who was in town to visit.
Sunday morning Michael came back from his all-night Easter Vigil and sunrise service, and after an hour or less, we walked out the door to go to the regular Easter service at the same church. I found that the apologetics books I’d been listening to actually did help, and I felt more spiritually open and grounded than I have in quite a while.
After church we went to lunch with Jeremy’s family at our usual place for barbecue and caught up on each other’s lives.
After lunch was another nap, and then dinner with Tim. It was a very typical Tim dinner, both in the restaurant choice and in our conversation. I was glad my brother got to be in on it and see a bit more of my everyday life.
Then Michael drove home, and I worked on my experimental literature list.
Last week I forgot to mention that after lunch on Saturday, we strolled through a nearby bookstore that had relocated to my favorite shopping center. A recent tweet thread from another bookstore reminded me that supporting local brick-and-mortar bookstores is good, so I wanted to check it out. It was a nice little place. I’ll probably try to buy from them for some of my experimental literature collection.
It was originally due the weekend before, but I decided to extend this project through last week. It took almost all Saturday night again, but I reached my goal for this phase, which was filling in the sections that had no links. Here’s all the stuff I changed in the last week, and below the comparison is the article as it looks now. It’s not in its ideal state, but I’m pretty pleased with this phase of the project.
Next time I’ll add authors and works to sections that only have topic links.
The experimental literature links included some comics. So I linked to those sections from my comic reading strategy guide.
This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. Remember to go to your local comic store and pick up some free comics!
Coding project generator
This week at last I can get back to my generator. I have a longish list of things to do for it, but since I regularly bite off more than I can chew, I need to lower my expectations and prioritize and so on. But this project is important and needs to get off my plate. So if I don’t finish it this month, I’ll probably make it next month’s project too.
I finished Eddy and Boyd’s The Jesus Legend, an answer to various theories that Jesus either didn’t exist or was much different than the New Testament’s picture of him. Some helpful things I picked up from this book:
- First-century Jews were very resistant to Hellenization, so they weren’t likely to adopt Greek myths.
- There’s some decent evidence from outside the Bible for Jesus’ existence and basic features of the Gospel narratives, especially from Tacitus.
- First-century Palestine had an oral culture, and we know a lot more about those now than in earlier days of historical Jesus studies. Oral traditions are more stable and reliable than we thought. NT scholars are only beginning to take this into account.
- People in antiquity weren’t as credulous as we tend to think.
- Against the idea that the Gospels are a kind of midrashic fiction: (1) The midrashic method didn’t creation fictional events, only interpreted real ones. (2) If the Gospel writers were going to create events based on biblical traditions, they would likely have created more straightforward correspondences than they ended up with.
- There’s apparently a trend in anthropology to admit that supernatural things happen among the people they study.
However, last week I also finished listening to Steve Shives’ YouTube series responding to Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, and I noticed that there’s a skeptical perspective on the New Testament that Eddy and Boyd don’t cover. That’s the idea that the early Christian leaders were outright frauds.
Maybe mainstream historians tend to dismiss this way of thinking about the documents they study. That’s the impression I get from reading these apologetics books. But listening to Shives, I realized the skeptical community spends a lot of its time debunking hoaxes, so for them it’s a natural suspicion.
So that’s my next question to address–were the early Christian leaders charlatans?
Since I’m on a programming project now, I’m taking the opportunity to finish my software development reading list. I have two more books. The first one is 24 Deadly Sins of Software Security, which is turning out to be very practical. I wasn’t sure if I’d get anything out of listening, since software security gets into unfamiliar technical areas, but so far I’m able to pick up on the general ideas, and it’s teaching me things I didn’t know.
Speaking of programming, did you know there’s software that lets you create scripts to automate the programs you use, even if you’re not a programmer? This is a topic I’ve been wondering about. I’m used to thinking about writing my own programs to automate things, but I know there are tools out there like the iOS Shortcuts app and the IFTTT website that let you tie together a bunch of other programs and trigger actions in them and move data back and forth between them.
While researching how to do some of this–making PDFs using Shortcuts–I stumbled across a podcast called Automators and its forum. It’s about using software to automate things in your life. I downloaded all the episodes and started listening.
I finished another long project last week, filtering someone’s playlist of ambient music to isolate the drone tracks. Then I sifted through that one to decide which ones to buy. After that I took a couple of trips to my favorite forest preserve to test those songs as a soundtrack to my twilight nature walks, and some of them fit nicely.
In all my filtering I’m not sure I stuck to the drone concept, so now I’m collecting and listening to the examples from the Wikipedia article on drone music. That should give me a better sense of the genre’s range.
Some examples that have stood out to me so far:
- David Hykes, Hearing Solar Winds – This is the most otherworldly music I’ve ever heard. It put me in a surreal mood.
- Philip Glass, Music with Changing Parts – When it comes to minimalism, I’m more of a Steve Reich kind of person. This is the most Steve Reich I’ve heard Philip Glass.
- Pink Floyd, Meddle, especially “Fearless” and “Echoes” – I tried listening to Pink Floyd long ago, but it was too wild and psychedelic for me. I was surprised to like this album and their others in this playlist.
- Coil, Time Machines – They were trying to replicate drug trips, and it kinda worked. My consciousness did feel a little altered.
- vidnaObmana, “sediment” – This one disturbed me a bit. The vocals sound like a brooding Dalek.
- vidnaObmana, “Techno-toxic embryo pt. 1” – This one disturbed me so much, listening to it turned into a test of endurance. It was almost physically painful. Which of course makes it fascinating.
I haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame yet, but I’m thinking I’ll see it this coming weekend. First I want to finish watching Ant Man and the Wasp. I keep hearing Endgame is really good, so I will be folding my arms skeptically and challenging the movie to prove it.
No spoilers from me on Endgame. Definitely want to hear what you think after you see it.