December 28, 2006

And a Merry Christmas to You!

Hello everyone! It is always easier to write a blog after something big or fun has happened, and being Christmas, something fun has happened :)

David and I went to his families for Christmas this year, since we were to Canada last year, as well as in July. It was a good Christmas. I was a little worried it would feel busy with all the places we were going in a short time, but it didn’t, it felt festive. :)

We had a Christmas party with the Hjelle side of the family. Two years ago we also had one, but being the first Christmas with David’s family, it was a bit awkward for me. This year was a lot of fun. I did get to know a few people a bit better, and hope to get to know them better yet as time goes on :)

We also had Christmas with the Simonson side of the family, which gets more enjoyable to me every time we get together! I love getting to know Grandma, Dale and Pat, and the boys of course :D

So, even though I was in Canada and wasn’t able to join in the great gift giving time I heard my family had, I did have a wonderful Christmas and it is fun to get to know more of David’s family.

Something else that is exciting for me is, David is Norwegian, I am not :) I have always loved different cultures and back grounds etc, but have never had an excuse to learn more about any in depth. Now I do :) and I enjoy it very much :) Thank you Mom and Dad Hjelle for the start of a touch of Norwegian in our household and not just Dutch .(Besides the gift of David of course ;))

And just so you all know, I did put up pictures from Christmas already :) Feel free to check it out.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too!

Love in Christ Rita

Comment~ permanent link ~ • Category: [News / Rita]

December 10, 2006

No Laws==Better People?

In an interesting turn of events, apparently several European cities have removed traffic signs—and report “good results.”

It’s an interesting concept. And, on a personal level, I like the idea. It reminds my of switching from a public middle school to a Christian high school. The high school, though technically more strict, actually seemed to have fewer rules—probably because they were smaller and hadn’t yet needed to outlaw every single possible behavior that would lead to an infraction. I like it when laws can be constructed according to common sense and decency, rather than on worst-case scenarios. I like the idea of promoting responsibility rather than staunch legalism.

But, somehow, there is a niggling philosophical problem that bothers me with the idea. What are we really assuming when we remove traffic signs and promote responsibility? What are the philosophical presuppositions? That’s right: we’re assuming that people are basically good. And that’s in strict contradiction to the Christian idea of original sin. So what are we to do?

Let’s step back a moment.

The justice system of the United States is based on the idea that one is “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s fundamental to our system, and many other systems around the world (think Stalinist Russia, for instance) quickly show how much evil can happen when the government is allowed to assume that it’s citizens are guilty.

Conversely, Christian philosophy says that everyone is guilty, from our birth. We are all desperately in need of a Savior. To presume that we are ever innocent is simply pride and a rejection of God Himself. (This is probably the fundamental problem facing Western Christianity—noone is willing to admit their guilt.) It’s a system where the verdict is known long before the trial even starts: guilty.

So ought we start taking down traffic signs? I’d love to see how long these sign-less cities last. (Very possibly, it’ll last until the first guy who gets up on the wrong side of the bed.) But maybe, just maybe, emphasizing personal responsibility is the way to go. It seems to me that a Christian is not only supposed to believe in original sin—but is also supposed to assume the best about the next guy. Perhaps our approach ought to be this: know that the next guy is steeped in sin—but, then again, so are we, and we fervently hope that he (or she) isn’t nearly as much as we are.

And, then, maybe we can get rid of our traffic signs after all.

Comment~ permanent link ~ • Category: [News / David / Public Policy]

New Comments Feature

I just created a new page that displays the five or so most recent comments. Thought you commenters out there might appreciate it.

Comment~ permanent link ~ • Category: [News / David / Web Site]

About War

No, not that war. There is far too much that I don’t know about that war to be able to speak authoritatively, though I certainly have my thoughts. But that is another discussion.

I’m thinking more in particular about war in general. Can war be right? Is war ever right? What is a proper Christian perspective? What are Christians to do with all the God-commanded wars in the Old Testament?

I happen to know that there are several points of view amongst the readers of my blog, and I’m looking for your thoughts. And, to spark this discussion some more, I’d like to refer you all to a eloquent letter to a license plate over at Contratimes.

Comment~ permanent link ~ • Category: [News / David / Public Policy]

December 04, 2006

New Design (Finally!)

Well, as you can see, the new design is finally up and running. I hope you like it! Please feel free to report bugs, critique, and praise (hopefully!) in the comments. I suspect there are still some bugs that need squashing, so we’ll see.

In other news, we had our Friday night Bible Study Christmas party Friday night, complete with a rubber duck theme! It was a blast—as you can see from the photos! And, no, before you ask—it was not an incredible natural coincidence that nearly everyone’s name was three letters long and began with a “J.” I changed them to protect the guilty—ah, innocent.

Comment~ permanent link ~ • Category: [News / David / Web Site]

© 2005-2007 David and Rita Hjelle