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Why SOPA/PIPA is the Nuclear Option (aka Overkill)

Today the web as become more politically active than ever. Many sites have self censored themselves to show their opposition to a bill that is currently working its way through congress (SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act) and the senate (PIPA Protecting Intellectual Property Act). Our opposition is not to the need to protect IP, but to the approach taken to protecting work.

At the heart of this issue is the vast resources involved in searching for and punishing those who violate IP laws. This is only made more complex by the lack of national borders on the web. Sites like ThePirateBay.com (based out of Sweden) have pages dedicated to the take down requests sent to them, but due to their physical location lack any jurisdictional authority.

Following this the US Congress (after more than $91 million in lobby money from Hollywood, media establishments, and others) drafted a twin set of bills SOPA and PIPA that would effectively place the whole of the internet under the jurisdiction of the United States by allowing the US Government to censor any site on the web at a structural level – a nuclear options since it destroys the whole site in efforts to remove specific IP content (not through a take down request, but by taking over their domain name without the owners consent removing the entire site from the web).

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Looming Chaos, Eschatology and our Apathy

If the general tone of the news is any indication, humanity could be en route for some major hurt in the coming months. We have a Eurozone which is looking like it will not survive the winter (Financial Times), and the west – through america – has pushed their relationship with nuclear armed Pakistan further then it has ever been in my lifetime. Yet I have noticed a sense of apathy and disengagement from those I find myself in community with (read – christians).

This has been a struggle for me since I understand the apathy. If our assumption is that Jesus is on the verge of returning and before this occurs there will be wars, death, collapse of society it would appear that everything is going according to plan. Why would we attempt to intervene if that very intervention might be in opposition to God’s plan, or even delay the second coming.

Yet a glance at history tells us this is not the case. The authors of the new testament assumed that with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD that Jesus would be coming back shortly, and yet we are still here nearly 2000 years later. This same understanding could be applied to the demise of the African church (700-1000 AD), the asian church (roughly the same time period), fall of the Roman Empire, the pillaging of Genghis Khan after his conversion to Islam, the sweeping of Black Death and  Spanish Flu, and many more localized incidents.

Instead I say we need to engage what is occurring in the lives of our fellow citizens (of country and terra) and look past the darkness to the coming dawn. The people of Israel went through many dark periods before Jesus arrived on the scene. Would it be outlandish for us to believe the same will happen again? While unpredictable, God does love patterns.

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Why I believe Occupy Wall Street Matters #OWS

Marking the start of the third month of the Occupy movement’s work in lower Manhattan I feel like I have finally had enough time to process through everything that has been going on to share a few thoughts and one frustration. Let start by saying that I believe this is a thoughtful group of people with important things to say.

My Frustration

First the frustration. There has been widespread attempts to marginalize this movement of people. This has been done by attempting to hijack their slogans (We are the 99%, etc.) and calling them to get jobs. Those who have marginalized this movement have – more than likely – avoided interacting with their very clear core complaint. This also includes all of the spin-off advertising (Jay-Z…) and attempts to redirect the frustration into other pursuits.

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A Rolling Series of New Beginnings

Life is a rolling series of new beginnings that we often fail to acknowledge. It seems that life can be viewed one of two ways, as a series of conclusions, or of beginnings. With the deluge and overlapping story lines of our lives, every day we are rolling through these points. Points that can be viewed either way.

Over the last many weeks I have been watching my own life, and those lives intertwined with my own, to see how we view these moments. There have been many big changes in my life this year that fall into this category: my dad’s passing away, changing churches, and bringing on staff to help Fresh Vine grow (amongst smaller stories). The same goes for my friends, but I won’t write of them here.

I try to look at each of these being the beginning of a new story. My dad’s passing starts the story of my life continued without his council and smile. Starting to attend Mill City has been the beginning of many new friendships and opportunities. Fresh Vine is a different organization than it was a year ago (two new employees, many new clients, amazing opportunities, new branding, and more exposure).

Looking at scripture this plays out as well. When Adam/Eve fell in the garden it was the beginning of the story, not the end. When Christ died on the cross it was not a conclusion, but another beginning. There is life after the fall, there is life after Christ, and there is life after death. This is not mystical hogwash, but reality. Yet many want to look at Christ as the end of faith, yet I believe Jesus saw himself as the beginning and means to a new life. The life that God intended from the beginning and was never possible before Christ. Even death is a new beginning, eternity is not an end but another beginning. There are no last pages in life, only starting points to what is to come.

Starting points call us to live each moment with excitement for where the story goes next.
I can promise you it will be good, bad, and ugly – and I can’t wait.