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May 16, 2007

In Memorium: Jerry Falwell

A lot of ink has been spilled, and a lot of electrons spent, in the past 24 or so hours, on this topic. And it would be very easy for me to simply sit down and write a defense of Jerry, or a critique, or to simply post a rant against the people who (as happened last night on Anderson Cooper 360) will simply choose to call names and hate, even as they cry out against his "hatred."

But that's all been done before. Ever since I walked on campus at Liberty University in August of 1986, I've been defending my chancellor. And it often wasn't an easy job. When my sister called me yesterday at about 2 and said "Did you hear about Jerry Falwell?" my gut reaction (though thankfully unspoken) was "Oh, no. What did he say this time?"

Jerry had a habit of speaking what was on his mind, without realizing (or, sometimes, caring, I guess) what it would sound like. Just a few weeks ago, he announced that he considered the doctrine of limited atonement (a cornerstone of Calvinist theology) "heresy." Immediately, I thought of people like Charles Spurgeon, William Carey, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur -- all good men, men of faith and conviction, and all fervent five-point Calvinists. All heretics, I guess, according to Jerry.

Needless to say, I didn't always agree with Jerry Falwell. But one of the things I learned in my time at Liberty was that that was OK. I attended classes with people from all over the evangelical spectrum -- old-school fundamentalists, Southern Baptists, evangelical Methodists, Pentecostals, you name it. Even when Jerry didn't always express tolerance in minors, the culture at Liberty thrived on it.

People enjoyed attacking Jerry Falwell. And I could tell that they really didn't know the man -- the man, not the preacher. The preacher preached against all forms of vice. The man, the Christian, often loaned his ministry's plane to Larry Flynt (yes, that Larry Flynt), who Jerry was actually friends with. People attacked Jerry for his lack of compassion, but Jerry rather quietly founded and operated the Elim Home for alcoholics and the Liberty Godparent Home for unwed mothers. Jerry was pro-life -- he was more than willing to take care of young women who made a mistake, and wanted to do the right thing -- including offering scholarships to Liberty for those who wanted it.

But I got to know a Jerry Falwell that the media and the casual observers would never get to know. I knew the man who, long before Springer made it popular, would walk into a basketball game to a thunderous chant of "Jerry! Jerry!" Whose students often referred to themselves (both ironically and proudly) as "Jerry's Kids." Who found time to talk to students as he walked across campus. Who was really interested in those students.

My mother-in-law spent a lot of time on campus when my wife and I were students there. She saw Jerry, and he saw her. He never knew her name, but any time he saw her in Lynchburg, he came over and spoke to her, or waved. He knew that she was an LU mom, and he wanted to show her he appreciated her.

The Jerry Falwell that the media never got to know threw toilet paper rolls at basketball games. He threw snowballs in chapel -- at the president of the college. He told incoming freshmen, "When Dr. Guillerman is around, you have to observe protocol and call me Dr. Falwell. But when he's not around, call me Pastor. Or heck, you can just call me Jerry."

That's the Jerry Falwell I got to know. And that's the one I will miss. Rest in Peace, Jerry. You've earned that reward.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 18, 2007

Microsoft vs. Open Source

OK, this has little to nothing to do with my original intent in blogging, but 1) it's timely and newsworthy and 2)I REALLY want to try to keep the front page from going blank.

Microsoft has started some saber-rattling at the open source community over alleged patent violations.

The one big problem as I see it with this type of patent protection is summed up pretty well in this quote from the article: "If every software developer had to review every patent on which he/she might be infringing before writing or releasing code, it would no longer be possible to develop software in the U.S."

By way of comparison: say I published a book back in 1990. In that book I wrote this sentence: "The dog was, in fact, stone dead." After publication, I decide that, since the book is copyrighted, I will sue anyone who ever uses that sentence in a book of their own, unless they pay me money.

It is totally possible that the writer of code could be totally unaware of any patent infringement, just as it would be possible for someone to use my sentence in a book and never have read mine. The time and labor involved in making sure that new software is not infringing on anyone's patent would effectively end open source software -- they don't have the time or the money to put into that type of research.

Microsoft doesn't like the fact that people are using Linux (especially Ubuntu) rather than Vista. They don't like the fact that people use OpenOffice rather than Office, or Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. That's fine. The solution SHOULD be to make a product people are willing to buy, that is so much better than the free alternatives that people WANT to pay money for it. Unfortunately, it's easier to threaten lawsuits (RIAA has taught us that).

For another reason that Microsoft should reconsider legal action, check out UserFriendly.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 25, 2007

A Meme For Me

I haven't been very bloggy lately, so I figured I'd break out of the slump with a little meme, borrowed from Rebecca.

Random 10 songs on my playlist, huh? First time I did it, it was all podcasts. So I set the playlist to only include non-podcasts. Here it is:

  • 'Aliens' by Luna Halo -- off a compilation CD I bought years and years ago. I think I've played this song once, maybe twice.

  • The Answer' by Live Fish -- this is a song that I might play on the podcast sometime.

  • 'Look in the Sky' by Glass Harp -- I got three CDs through Blogcritics a while back. VERY fun music.

  • 'Mountains' by Glass Harp -- see above ;-)

  • 'The Abby Song' by Three Cord Wonder -- the very first band I ever played on the podcast. They have a label now, but I can still play some of their new stuff. The best kept secret of the Colorado indie music scene, in my not-so-humble opinion.

  • 'Running' by Bree Noble -- a song I got from someone who wants to be on the podcast. She's got a great voice.

  • 'Pretty Fly For a Rabbi' by Weird Al Yankovic -- what can I say -- it's Weird Al!

  • 'Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord' from Rachmaninov's "Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" -- another CD I got thanks to Blogcritics. Praise and worship music that will make you sick of modern praise and worship music.

  • 'hollanatwigsta' by poor rich folk -- another podcast favorite. Think I need to throw them into the rotation again soon -- very fun acoustic group.

  • 'Studying Politics' by Emery -- another freebie, this time from Tooth and Nail. Fun song from a great band.

Well, there's my ten, and my iPod isn't even working right now. Go make your own list, why don't ya?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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