The US has a corner on religious education?

A couple of months ago a pastor from India found my phone number on the Internet and started calling me. Immediately he started asking for money that I could send to his ministry. Knowing nothing about him (and still grappling with the whole idea of supporting nationals) I resolutely said that I would not send any money, but would be glad to pray for him. He calls about once a week now (that is much better than every day like when he started). He gives me various prayer requests and I have been honestly praying for the man and his church. It really is a good illustration of Jesus’ story of the lady who went to the judge daily. With Pastor Beny calling me on a regular basis, I really can’t help but think of him and pray for him. It helps me understand that the more information I can get to my prayer partners on a very consistent basis the more likely they will be to pray for me.

He sent me an email last week asking if I would pay for one of his church members to come to the US so he could go to Bible college. Because, according to Beny, “he can be used of the Lord if he gets trained in the US.”

That there is my biggest issue with churches in one country becoming dependent on another country. Beny thinks that the US has some corner on the market of spirituality. And that if his church member can come to the US he can get trained in the right way to do ministry. I also know that Beny may just be playing me as a scam artist and thinks I will eventually give in and send thousands of dollars. Well, that will never happen.

Unfortunately I think it is the US missionary mindset that has propagated that mentality. There are too many missionaries who carry an attitude of superiority over the national churches and people. All pastors should feel responsible to work towards a higher level of maturity in regards to the Bible than where his people may be. But when he portrays to his people that one has to go to a certain Bible college in a certain country to get properly trained in the ministry, I think he is stepping into the realm of Romanism; the idea that one church in one place has sole authority over what you can and can’t understand.

I will still receive calls from Beny. In fact, he called again today. I told him I would do some looking around to see if we can find a Bible college in India his church member can attend. He was thankful for any help and begged me to continue to pray for him. Which I am glad to do.

Fortune cookies

My fortune cookie. Be helpful.Today we went to eat at a small Chinese place that we first visited about a year ago. We have only been there maybe 4 times, but it has always been good.

My wife always teases that fortune cookies these days don’t have any fortune in them. They don’t tell you that you will be hit by a bus at 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon. That would be a helpful telling of fortune. But, alas, we get stuck with trite little sayings.

Oops... Wrong cookie.Today mine said: “You will be called upon to help a friend in trouble. Answer the call.” Isn’t that what I do all the time? I have always tried to be helpful when people need it. Now my cookie is telling me I need to step it up a notch. Well, I taught that cookie a lesson. I ate it. I guess that wasn’t too helpful.

My wife’s cookie was just downright funny. It said: “Oops… Wrong cookie.”

Orderly Chaos

Yesterday my wife and I were part of the craziness that is Black Friday. We went to Target to get a hard drive for a great price. We arrived a couple of minutes after 5:00 and the parking lot was full. There was a line that people were voluntarily stepping into and filing orderly into the store. There were no police officers and no one yelling and screaming. I knew right then that we were no longer in Mexico.

This video was taken at about 10 minutes after the store was to have opened. There were already people leaving the store when we got in line. That makes me think that they opened early. There were no hard drives left. They had a space for the drives that could not have held more than 10 drives to start with. I ran across the street to Wal-Mart while my wife paid for a couple of items. At Wal-Mart I found the drives in a stack of about 80. They had plenty of them. They price-matched Target and I got a good deal.

People bash Wal-Mart all the time, but all in all I think they are doing many things right.

Dodged a bullet in the shape of a hard drive

A few months ago I had trouble installing a newer version of Linux on my computer. This is my main machine and houses the vast majority of our data. After the install failed I tried a different distribution of Linux. While most everything worked fine, there was one issue that haunted me. The hard drive partition that we have our photos stored on would not mount (I could not read from it). In fact as soon as I tried to mount the partition the whole machine would lock up instantly. Two other partitions on that drive worked without any problems.

I was hoping that the newer version of Kubuntu would take care of the problem. After installing it I was still getting the same behavior I had experienced with Slackware; instant lockup as soon as I tried to touch the partition.

In preparation for a new external hard drive purchase I decided to dig into this problem.

With the drive completely unmounted (even the partitions that were working fine) I ran an fsck check on the partitions. Since the partition is an ext3 file system I ran the following command:

sudo fsck.ext3 /dev/sdb2

Western Digital External Hard DriveSudo gives me root privileges. fsck.ext3 is the fs (file system) ck (check) specific for ext3 formatted partitions. The /dev/sdb2 means that I ran it on my second drive and second partition of that drive.

After putting in my root password I got a bunch of output that said:

Free blocks count wrong for group #XX ...

It asked it I wanted to fix it and I replied yes to the couple of hundred requests.

Apparently the drive was not cleanly unmounted. By running fsck I allowed it to clean up the corrupted table that said where all the data lived. While my drive is a traditional internal drive, this is a good lesson as to why you should always eject USB drives, or any type of media, before popping them out of your computer. That is true for whatever operating system you are running.

I am pleased to have recovered the 28 GB of photos that I had on there. I have most of them backed up in various locations, but do not have a full backup in one place. Since today is Thanksgiving I guess I should say I am thankful for having finally gotten to the bottom of this and that tomorrow is Black Friday and I am able to pick up an external HD that will back up all the computers on my network with room to spare.

Now, where is that coupon code for those online backup solutions?

RIP: Radio Shack

Gone are the days where you could at least hope to find what you needed at Radio Shack. Even if you had to pay a ridiculously high price for a component, you could at least find some of the things you needed to build a project. But, not any more.

I went into my local Radio Shack today to get a stereo plug for a mic connector that I want to build. The lady at The Shack looked at me like I was stupid when I told her what I wanted (1/8″ stereo plug that I could solder my own wires on to). She took me over to the extension cables. At least she was in the right aisle of the store where the plugs would have been in the past. Trying to be helpful, she stood in my way to find this thing herself that she really did not understand. She would have been more helpful if she would have just let me look instead of assuming I was the dumb one in the conversation.

After digging around a while I realized there were very few products for build it yourself projects.

I left with the comment that I would just have to go online and get what I needed and in doing so try to put Radio Shack out of business. She joked that my leaving the store to buy online could, very well, be their demise.

While Radio Shack is probably doing well in their new business, they are no longer a friend to hobbyists who want to build their own equipment. *Sigh*