A bit of scripture while reflecting on Martin Luther King Day

I listened to a few messages on discipleship as we approach Martin Luther King day:

The first, John chapter 1, via Rev. Mary Froiland:

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

The second, via Rev. Mark Jeske was based on Romans 15:

5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews[b] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Seek ye first yourself”…..

Cal DeWitt (8MB mp3):

“We read the admonition to us to seek first the kingdom of God, and all these other things will be added unto you.

Today’s message, on the airways, on television, in blogs and tweets is “Seek ye first yourself and all these other things will be added unto you.”

But the gospel says no, that has it backwards.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and then all these things will be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)”

DeWitt’s message is also available on youtube (about 5 minutes into the video link).

I found Mr. DeWitt’s remarks quite worthwhile.

A written version of Mr. DeWitt’s remarks should appear here in the near future.

Spectacular Sunset, and Bonus Rainbow

Rainbows in Genesis 9:12-16:

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

Tap to view a larger version.

360 Degrees of “Traffic Acquisition Cost”

While dropping off my bike for a bit of maintenance recently, I noticed balloons, a table and the term “allo” in an area popular with University of Wisconsin students.

Unaware, I inquired of those staffing the table: what is allo(1)?

“Oh, it’s Google’s messaging app for iPhone and Android. Try it and get a free donut.”

Google is trying to get students to use its “free” messaging app. Allo competes with iOS iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp and many others.

It’s important to remember that Google, like Facebook and other surveillance capitalism (2) companies make their money by stalking people, then merging, refining and reselling our user information.

Curious, I dug deeper.

Google is apparently spending well into the five figures per “Big Ten” (3) campus. Students make at least $1000.00 per semester for several events, such as this donut giveaway. They may receive further bonuses based on allo usage. Locations, schedule and the “free” gift for using allo are arranged by someone at Google.

The accounting for an initiative such as this falls under “Traffic Acquisition Costs” (4).

Given Google’s chokehold on traditional internet (www) search, why bother with allo?

John Gapper explains in a recent article: “while Google faces the problem of the web itself degrading, which makes search less useful”. (5)

Smartphones are ubiquitous, and apps dominate smartphone activity. Thus, Google’s traditional method of copying and tracking all web activity does not generally apply to today’s most popular platforms. (6)

Thus, money spent promoting allo, which apparently allows Google to track, collect, refine and monetize personal information, may extend the firm’s reach deeper into the smartphone world.

Google does not give up.

Less than a week later, the Spotify app on my iPhone began to display an in app advertisement (below).

Waze is a GPS navigation app for iOS and Android devices. Waze is owned by Google.

A spotify subscriber, I’m not pleased to see such advertising techniques that detract from a paid experience.

Related: “When Data is Dangerous” by Bob Hoffman.

P.S. My inquiries included a somewhat surprising conversation regarding passive microphone listening on android devices.

1. Allo sends the wrong message about encryption. EFF.

2. surveillance capitalism.

3. The “Big Ten” isn’t. It’s fourteen.

4. Traffic Acquisition Cost links

5. John Gapper @FT.

6. Bob Hoffman on “corrupt” online advertising practices.

Digging Graves at AMC Theatres

I don’t go to movies often.

However, my dear family suggested that we see “The Big Sick“.

The movie was delightful, but the AMC experience, not great.

We viewed the film at Madison’s former Sundance Cinemas, now AMC “Dine-in”.

$45 for three of us, yet AMC subjected us to twenty (20!) minutes of previews. Four of the six were terrible, version 2 and 3 of why bother films. The last two, somewhat of an improvement, but after paying $15 each, the length of in your face advertising was beyond the pale.

All that said, I’m not terribly optimistic that the theatre world will abandon their invasive practices.

Reformation/500: Martin Luther’s Commentary on Genesis 1-4

Martin Luther (PDF):

With respect therefore to this opinion of Augustine, we conclude that Moses spoke literally and plainly and neither allegorically nor figuratively; that is, he means that the world with all creatures was created in six days as he himself expresses it. If we cannot attain unto a comprehension of the reason why it was so, let us still remain scholars and leave all the preceptorship to the Holy Spirit!

These days were distinguished thus. On the first day the unformed mass of heaven and earth was created to which light was then added. On the second day the firmament. On the third day the earth was produced out of the waters and its fruits created.

On the fourth day the heavens were adorned by the creation of the sun, moon and stars. On the fifth day the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air. On the sixth day the beasts of the earth were created, and Man was made. I say nothing of the other views which divide these sacred matters into the work of creation, of distinction, and of ornation, because I do not think such divisions of the subject can be made to harmonize in all respects with each other. If any one admire such views let him consult Lyra.

Rod Dreher pens an interesting article on President Trump and Christians.