Archive for December, 2007

Top 50 games all time and top games in categories to 85% rating (or capped at 25 games)

28 December 2007

Top 50 Games of all time:
1. The Orange Box  PC  EA Games  30  9.6 96.183%
2. Starcraft: Brood War  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  5  8.8 96.000%
3. Half-Life 2  PC  VU Games  93  8.9 95.538%
4. Out of the Park Baseball 2007  PC  Sports Interactive  5  7.0 95.400%
5. BioShock  PC  2K Games  42  8.3 94.964%
6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City  PC  Rockstar Games  49  8.7 94.643%
7. Championship Manager 4  PC  Eidos Interactive  15  7.0 94.600%
8. Half-Life  PC  Sierra Entertainment  26  8.9 94.404%
9. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn  PC  Interplay  36  8.9 94.028%
10. Tomb Raider  PC  Eidos Interactive  5  7.4 94.000%
11. Company of Heroes  PC  THQ  63  7.9 93.949%
12. Unreal Tournament  PC  GT Interactive  22  8.8 93.636%
13. Quake  PC  id Software  8  8.2 93.625%
14. X-COM: UFO Defense  PC  Atari  5  8.5 93.600%
15. Grand Theft Auto III  PC  Rockstar Games  44  8.8 93.443%
16. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare  PC  Activision  33  9.0 93.364%
17. Championship Manager 3  PC  Eidos Interactive  6  7.7 93.333%
18. Civilization IV  PC  2K Games  64  8.6 93.187%
19. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion  PC  2K Games  64  8.9 93.187%
20. Starcraft  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  15  8.8 93.133%
21. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic  PC  LucasArts  56  8.8 93.130%
22. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  60  8.6 93.067%
23. Grim Fandango  PC  LucasArts  31  8.5 93.000%
24. Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar  PC  Stardock  24  7.9 92.917%
25. Team Fortress 2  PC  Valve Software  9  8.5 92.889%
26. The Sims Deluxe  PC  EA Games  6  7.0 92.833%
27. Unreal Tournament 2004  PC  Atari  54  8.8 92.676%
28. System Shock 2  PC  Looking Glass Studios  37  8.7 92.351%
29. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas  PC  Rockstar Games  60  8.5 92.242%
30. Dungeon Keeper  PC  Electronic Arts  5  7.9 92.200%
31. Baldur’s Gate  PC  Interplay  19  8.8 92.105%
32. World Soccer Winning Eleven 7 International  PC  VU Games  10  8.3 92.000%
33. Pro Evolution Soccer 4  PC  Konami  8  7.9 92.000%
34. World of Warcraft  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  71  8.4 91.849%
35. Rome: Total War  PC  Activision  67  8.5 91.601%
36. Myst  PC  Broderbund  5  6.8 91.600%
37. Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  39  8.6 91.590%
38. FreeSpace 2  PC  Interplay  19  8.0 91.579%
39. Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri  PC  Electronic Arts  28  7.8 91.571%
40. Call of Duty  PC  Activision  71  8.9 91.544%
41. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory  PC  Ubisoft  37  8.5 91.527%
42. Civilization II  PC  MicroProse  7  8.8 91.286%
43. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  47  7.5 91.011%
44. Planescape: Torment  PC  Interplay  42  8.8 91.000%
45. Deus Ex  PC  Eidos Interactive  32  8.8 91.000%
46. Fallout  PC  Interplay  13  8.7 91.000%
47. Medal of Honor Allied Assault  PC  EA Games  50  8.6 90.910%
48. Command & Conquer Red Alert  PC  Westwood Studios  11  8.4 90.909%
49. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay  PC  VU Games  41  8.2 90.707%
50. Crysis  PC  EA Games  40  7.8 90.700%

Action Adventure
1. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City  PC  Rockstar Games  49  8.7 94.643%
2. Tomb Raider  PC  Eidos Interactive  5  7.4 94.000%
3. Grand Theft Auto III  PC  Rockstar Games  44  8.8 93.443%
4. System Shock 2  PC  Looking Glass Studios  37  8.7 92.351%
5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas  PC  Rockstar Games  60  8.5 92.242%
6. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory  PC  Ubisoft  37  8.5 91.527%
7. Deus Ex  PC  Eidos Interactive  32  8.8 91.000%
8. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell  PC  Ubisoft  47  8.6 90.362%
9. Mafia  PC  Gathering  49  8.6 90.010%
10. Thief: The Dark Project  PC  Eidos Interactive  23  8.3 89.196%
11. Thief II: The Metal Age  PC  Eidos Interactive  35  8.2 89.043%
12. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time  PC  Ubisoft  30  8.6 88.600%
13. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy  PC  LucasArts  24  7.7 86.604%
14. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin  PC  Eidos Interactive  35  8.2 85.743%
15. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow  PC  Ubisoft  28  8.6 85.357%
16. Metal Gear Solid  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  20  8.6 85.050%
17. Thief: Deadly Shadows  PC  Eidos Interactive  49  7.9 85.031%

Action
1. The Orange Box  PC  EA Games  30  9.6 96.183%
2. Half-Life 2  PC  VU Games  93  8.9 95.538%
3. BioShock  PC  2K Games  42  8.3 94.964%
4. Half-Life  PC  Sierra Entertainment  26  8.9 94.404%
5. Unreal Tournament  PC  GT Interactive  22  8.8 93.636%
6. Quake  PC  id Software  8  8.2 93.625%
7. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare  PC  Activision  33  9.0 93.364%
8. Team Fortress 2  PC  Valve Software  9  8.5 92.889%
9. Unreal Tournament 2004  PC  Atari  54  8.8 92.676%
10. Call of Duty  PC  Activision  71  8.9 91.544%
11. Medal of Honor Allied Assault  PC  EA Games  50  8.6 90.910%
12. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay  PC  VU Games  41  8.2 90.707%
13. Crysis  PC  EA Games  40  7.8 90.700%
14. Rayman 2: The Great Escape  PC  Ubisoft  15  7.1 90.700%
15. No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.’s Way  PC  Sierra Entertainment  44  8.5 90.508%
16. Realms of the Haunting  PC  Interplay  7  7.4 90.429%
17. Portal  PC  Valve Software  19  10.0 90.368%
18. Battlefield 2  PC  EA Games  69  8.6 90.065%
19. Half-Life 2: Episode Two  PC  Valve Software  20  8.8 89.750%
20. Psychonauts  PC  Majesco Games  31  8.1 89.613%
21. Max Payne  PC  Gathering  47  8.7 89.585%
22. Far Cry  PC  Ubisoft  79  8.6 89.538%
23. Half-Life: Counter-Strike  PC  Sierra Entertainment  23  8.4 89.239%
24. MDK  PC  Playmates  5  7.4 89.200%
25. The Operative: No One Lives Forever  PC  Fox Interactive  29  8.4 89.017%
26. Unreal  PC  GT Interactive  25  8.1 88.780%
27. Battlefield 1942  PC  EA Games  46  8.5 88.746%
28. F.E.A.R.  PC  VU Games  64  8.7 88.656%
29. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne  PC  Rockstar Games  70  8.6 88.600%
30. Quake II  PC  Activision  16  8.2 88.563%
31. Duke Nukem 3D  PC  GT Interactive  6  8.2 88.500%
32. Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30  PC  Ubisoft  36  8.0 88.278%
33. Unreal Tournament 2003  PC  Atari  45  8.4 88.222%
34. Counter-Strike: Source  PC  VU Games  8  8.4 87.875%
35. Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory  PC  Activision  7  8.0 87.714%
36. Call of Duty 2  PC  Activision  77  8.6 87.636%
37. Gears of War  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  28  9.0 87.625%
38. Doom 3  PC  Activision  99  8.2 87.553%
39. Return to Castle Wolfenstein  PC  Activision  51  8.2 87.203%
40. Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus  PC  GT Interactive  16  7.3 86.750%

Adventure
1. Grim Fandango  PC  LucasArts  31  8.5 93.000%
2. Myst  PC  Broderbund  5  6.8 91.600%
3. The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery  PC  Sierra Entertainment  6  7.9 90.500%
4. The Curse of Monkey Island  PC  LucasArts  9  8.4 88.778%
5. The Longest Journey  PC  Funcom  26  8.5 88.385%
6. Sam & Max: Season 1  PC  The Adventure Company  14  10.0 88.000%
7. Amber: Journeys Beyond  PC  Graphic Simulations  6  6.9 87.333%
8. The Neverhood  PC  Dreamworks Interactive  8  7.0 86.125%
9. The Last Express  PC  Broderbund  8  8.0 86.125%
10. Riven: The Sequel to Myst  PC  Red Orb Entertainment  8  7.3 85.000%

Driving
1. Carmageddon  PC  Interplay  5  7.7 89.600%
2. GTR 2  PC  10tacle Studios  28  7.9 89.536%
3. NASCAR Racing 2003 Season  PC  Sierra Entertainment  20  7.5 89.250%
4. NASCAR Racing 4  PC  Sierra Entertainment  20  7.1 88.675%
5. Grand Prix 3  PC  Hasbro Interactive  20  7.3 87.550%
6. Superbike 2001  PC  EA Sports  18  6.6 87.417%
7. F1 2002  PC  EA Sports  14  7.4 86.929%
8. Motocross Madness  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  15  7.2 86.900%
9. Live for Speed  PC  LFS Team  7  8.5 86.857%
10. NASCAR Racing 2002 Season  PC  Sierra Entertainment  20  7.4 86.700%
11. Motocross Madness 2  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  39  7.0 86.667%
12. F1 Challenge ’99-’02  PC  Electronic Arts  14  6.2 86.571%
13. Superbike 2000  PC  EA Sports  22  6.4 86.432%
14. Colin McRae Rally 2.0  PC  Codemasters  19  8.2 86.211%
15. Colin McRae Rally 04  PC  Codemasters  9  7.0 85.778%
16. GTR FIA Racing  PC  10tacle Studios  31  7.5 85.581%
17. Midnight Club II  PC  Rockstar Games  28  7.4 85.429%
18. Mobil 1 Rally Championship  PC  Electronic Arts  15  6.6 85.233%
19. TOCA Race Driver 2: The Ultimate Racing Simulator  PC  Codemasters  15  7.3 85.133%

Misc
1. The Sims Deluxe  PC  EA Games  6  7.0 92.833%
2. The Sims 2  PC  EA Games  59  8.3 90.517%
3. The Sims  PC  Maxis  47  7.9 89.798%
4. The Sims: Hot Date  PC  EA Games  24  7.7 85.542%
5. Virtual Pool 3  PC  Interplay  16  6.7 84.906%
6. Peggle Deluxe  PC  PopCap  7  — 84.857%
7. Chessmaster 10th Edition  PC  Ubisoft  10  7.3 84.200%

Role Playing
1. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn  PC  Interplay  36  8.9 94.028%
2. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion  PC  2K Games  64  8.9 93.187%
3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic  PC  LucasArts  56  8.8 93.130%
4. Baldur’s Gate  PC  Interplay  19  8.8 92.105%
5. World of Warcraft  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  71  8.4 91.849%
6. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  47  7.5 91.011%
7. Planescape: Torment  PC  Interplay  42  8.8 91.000%
8. Fallout  PC  Interplay  13  8.7 91.000%
9. EVE Online: Exodus  PC  CCP  8  8.2 89.625%
10. Diablo  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  14  8.5 89.286%
11. Guild Wars  PC  NCsoft  57  8.5 89.272%
12. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind  PC  Bethesda Softworks  59  8.8 88.904%
13. EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark  PC  Sony Online Entertainment  19  7.0 88.816%
14. Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal  PC  Interplay  31  8.4 88.806%
15. Neverwinter Nights  PC  Atari  61  8.3 88.686%
16. Freedom Force  PC  Crave  38  7.9 88.601%
17. Diablo II  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  51  8.6 88.500%
18. Dark Age of Camelot  PC  Mythic Entertainment  26  7.0 87.462%
19. EverQuest  PC  Sony Online Entertainment  27  7.0 87.259%
20. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar  PC  Midway  41  8.1 86.980%
21. Fallout 2  PC  Interplay  26  8.8 86.942%
22. Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast  PC  Interplay  6  8.1 86.500%
23. Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich  PC  Irrational Games  50  7.4 86.364%
24. The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles  PC  Bethesda Softworks  36  7.0 86.042%
25. Wizardry 8  PC  Sirtech  25  8.4 86.000%

Simulation
1. FreeSpace 2  PC  Interplay  19  8.0 91.579%
2. IL-2 Sturmovik  PC  Ubisoft  17  7.7 90.647%
3. FirePower for Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3  PC  GMX Media  7  6.6 89.429%
4. Falcon 4.0: Allied Force  PC  Graphsim Entertainment  9  8.0 88.556%
5. Flight Unlimited III  PC  Electronic Arts  13  6.2 88.500%
6. F/A-18  PC  Electronic Arts  14  6.7 88.429%
7. Silent Hunter III  PC  Ubisoft  27  7.8 88.333%
8. Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche Versus Ka-52 Hokum  PC  Empire Interactive  14  6.1 88.321%
9. Wings of Power: WWII Heavy Bombers and Jets  PC  Tri Synergy  6  6.6 87.833%
10. IL-2 Sturmovik: The Forgotten Battles  PC  Ubisoft  19  7.2 87.632%
11. Steel Beasts  PC  Shrapnel Games  21  5.2 87.214%
12. Total Air War  PC  Atari  7  6.4 87.000%
13. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  30  7.4 86.967%
14. European Air War  PC  Atari  15  6.5 86.600%
15. MechWarrior 4: Vengeance  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  44  8.0 86.443%
16. MiG Alley  PC  Empire Interactive  19  6.4 86.158%
17. Independence War  PC  Atari  11  7.3 85.909%
18. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance  PC  LucasArts  12  7.5 85.250%

Sports
1. Out of the Park Baseball 2007  PC  Sports Interactive  5  7.0 95.400%
2. Championship Manager 4  PC  Eidos Interactive  15  7.0 94.600%
3. Championship Manager 3  PC  Eidos Interactive  6  7.7 93.333%
4. World Soccer Winning Eleven 7 International  PC  VU Games  10  8.3 92.000%
5. Pro Evolution Soccer 4  PC  Konami  8  7.9 92.000%
6. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3  PC  Activision  20  7.8 90.550%
7. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003  PC  Electronic Arts  18  7.9 89.833%
8. FIFA 99  PC  EA Sports  17  7.1 89.235%
9. Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006  PC  Sega  22  8.5 89.191%
10. NHL: Eastside Hockey Manager 2007  PC  Sega  5  6.4 88.800%
11. Worldwide Soccer Manager 2005  PC  Sega  19  7.8 88.684%
12. World Soccer Winning Eleven 8 International  PC  Konami  6  7.1 88.500%
13. Madden NFL 2004  PC  EA Sports  15  7.9 88.400%
14. Out of the Park Baseball 6  PC  Out Of The Park Developments  5  4.9 88.400%
15. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005  PC  EA Sports  18  6.2 88.333%
16. Madden NFL 2003  PC  EA Sports  16  7.9 88.250%
17. Pro Evolution Soccer 5  PC  Konami  5  8.3 88.200%
18. NHL 99  PC  Electronic Arts  19  7.3 88.105%
19. NHL 2001  PC  EA Sports  28  7.7 87.821%
20. NBA Live 2000  PC  EA Sports  23  7.4 87.652%
21. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4  PC  Aspyr  11  7.3 87.636%
22. Madden NFL 99  PC  EA Sports  16  6.1 87.281%
23. PGA Championship Golf 2000  PC  Sierra Entertainment  22  6.3 87.068%
24. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004  PC  EA Sports  13  7.4 86.769%
25. High Heat Baseball 2000  PC  3DO  14  6.9 86.500%

Strategy
1. Starcraft: Brood War  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  5  8.8 96.000%
2. Company of Heroes  PC  THQ  63  7.9 93.949%
3. X-COM: UFO Defense  PC  Atari  5  8.5 93.600%
4. Civilization IV  PC  2K Games  64  8.6 93.187%
5. Starcraft  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  15  8.8 93.133%
6. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  60  8.6 93.067%
7. Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar  PC  Stardock  24  7.9 92.917%
8. Dungeon Keeper  PC  Electronic Arts  5  7.9 92.200%
9. Rome: Total War  PC  Activision  67  8.5 91.601%
10. Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  39  8.6 91.590%
11. Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri  PC  Electronic Arts  28  7.8 91.571%
12. Civilization II  PC  MicroProse  7  8.8 91.286%
13. Command & Conquer Red Alert  PC  Westwood Studios  11  8.4 90.909%
14. Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne  PC  Blizzard Entertainment  42  8.7 90.476%
15. Sacrifice  PC  Interplay  38  7.5 89.974%
16. Black & White  PC  EA Games  43  7.2 89.698%
17. Battlezone  PC  Activision  18  7.8 89.639%
18. Civilization III  PC  Atari  40  8.4 89.275%
19. World in Conflict  PC  Sierra Entertainment  45  6.4 89.220%
20. Age of Mythology  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  44  8.3 89.076%
21. Rise of Nations  PC  Microsoft Game Studios  58  8.3 88.934%
22. Total Annihilation  PC  Humongous Entertainment  13  8.5 88.846%
23. Homeworld  PC  Sierra Entertainment  38  8.2 88.605%
24. Homeworld: Cataclysm  PC  Sierra Entertainment  42  8.1 88.583%
25. Medieval: Total War  PC  Activision  43  8.2 88.500%
28. Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord  PC  Battlefront.com  16  7.5 88.000%

Played
Want to play
Own, not yet played

Thanks http://www.gamerankings.com

Advertisements

Clinton wont take questions – that doesnt bode well for a president

28 December 2007

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2007/12/clintons-dont-a.html

 For those of you trying to relive the early 90s, and some of you are the same as those really trying to relive the 60s, read on.

Foreshadowing.

My new favorite website

28 December 2007

Ah nostalgia.  This is awesome.  Takes me right back to some of the things I asked Santa for in the 1970s.

I have the bedspread and still a pillow from the sheets on page 50 of the 1979 Sears catalog!

http://www.wishbookweb.com/

Information about NIACT and weapons

28 December 2007

Dirt Sailor: October 2007

we’re an imperfect country

27 December 2007

Yes, we’re an imperfect country…and some of the media delights in that, pointing it out to us repeatedly. But here’s a pleasant read about America and our unselfish motives around the world. Enjoy.

When in England at a large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building’ by George Bush. He answered by saying, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.” It became very quiet in the room.
**************

Then there was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part,including French and American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt B ush ha s don e? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?”

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck.. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?” Once again, dead silence.
*****************

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most o f those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, ‘whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.’ He then asked, ‘Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?’ Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied ‘Maybe its because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German!’ You could have heard a pin drop!

Merry Christmas!

27 December 2007

Hi, nothing new.

I have my orders.

Just enjoying time at home and working on deployment related paperwork and learning!

Happy New Year!

Orders in hand.

26 December 2007

Merry Christmas! My orders came!

2008 in Iraq, it is!

They are relatively vague but they do say 254 days. They also give information about the 50 pounds of kevlar and other body armor I will be ‘issued enroute’.

It also give me permission to carry a weapon…. that will take some getting used to. Up to this point, the only weapon I have carried is my mind!

Ahh- an interesting ‘Protest’ant perspective, enjoy.

20 December 2007
Friends,
    It’s not often that I find such inspiration and insight in a Methodist “Reformation Sunday” homily.
Would that every Protestant cleric might reflect on this….. as well as we Catholics.
                                                                            +Advent Blessings, CLG+
Stanley is one of the most prophetic f$%@*?g theologians on the planet. This sermon makes me glad that circumstances prevented my ordination on October 31, 1998 in favor of November 1 (All Saints’ Day).

A SERMON FOR REFORMATION SUNDAY
29 October 1995
by Stanley Hauerwas

Joel 2:23-322 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18Luke 18:9-14

I must begin by telling you that I do not like to preach on Reformation Sunday. Actually I have to put it more strongly than that. I do not like Reformation Sunday, period. I do no understand why it is part of the church year. Reformation Sunday does not name a happy event for the Church Catholic; on the contrary, it names failure. Of course, the church rightly names failure, or at least horror, as part of our church year. We do, after all, go through crucifixion as part of Holy Week. Certainly if the Reformation is to be narrated rightly, it is to be narrated as part of those dark days.

Reformation names the disunity in which we currently stand. We who remain in the Protestant tradition want to say that Reformation was a success. But when we make Reformation a success, it only ends up killing us. After all, the very name ‘Protestantism’ is meant to denote a reform movement of protest within the Church Catholic. When Protestantism becomes an end in itself, which it certainly has through the mainstream denominations in America, it becomes anathema. If we no longer have broken hearts at the church’s division, then we cannot help but unfaithfully celebrate Reformation Sunday.

For example, note what the Reformation has done for our reading texts like that which we hear from Luke this morning. We Protestants automatically assume that the Pharisees are the Catholics. They are the self-righteous people who have made Christianity a form of legalistic religion, thereby destroying the free grace of the Gospel. We Protestants are the tax collectors, knowing that we are sinners and that our lives depend upon God’s free grace. And therefore we are better than the Catholics because we know they are sinners. What an odd irony that the Reformation made such readings possible. As Protestants we now take pride in the acknowledgement of our sinfulness in order to distinguish ourselves from Catholics who allegedly believe in works-righteousness.

Unfortunately, the Catholics are right. Christian salvation consists in works. To be saved is to be made holy. To be saved requires our being made part of a people separated from the world so that we can be united in spite of–or perhaps better, because of–the world’s fragmentation and divisions. Unity, after all, is what God has given us through Christ’s death and resurrection. For in that death and resurrection we have been made part of God’s salvation for the world so that the world may know it has been freed from the powers that would compel us to kill one another in the name of false loyalties. All that is about the works necessary to save us.

For example, I often point out that at least Catholics have the magisterial office of the Bishop of Rome to remind them that disunity is a sin. You should not overlook the significance that in several important documents of late, John Paul II has confessed the Catholic sin for the Reformation. Where are the Protestants capable of doing likewise? We Protestants feel no sin for the disunity of the Reformation. We would not know how to confess our sin for the continuing disunity of the Reformation. We would not know how to do that because we have no experience of unity.

The magisterial office–we Protestants often forget–is not a matter of constraining or limiting diversity in the name of unity. The office of the Bishop of Rome is to ensure that when Christians move from Durham, North Carolina to Syracuse, New York, they have some confidence when they go to church that they will be worshipping the same God. Because Catholics have an office of unity, they do not need to restrain the gifts of the Spirit. As I oftentimes point out, it is extraordinary that Catholicism is able to keep the Irish and the Italians in the same church. What an achievement! Perhaps equally amazing is their ability to keep within the same church Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans.

I think Catholics are able to do that because they know that their unity does not depend opon everyone agreeing. Indeed, they can celebrate their disagreements because they understand that our unity is founded upon the cross and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth that makes the Eucharist possible. They do not presume, therefore, that unity requires that we all read Scripture the same way.

This creates a quite different attitude among Catholics about their relation to Christian tradition and the wider world. Protestants look over to Christian tradition and say, ‘How much of this do we have to believe in order to remain identifiably Christian?’ That’s the reason why Protestants are always tempted to rationalism: we think that Christianity is to be identified with sets of beliefs more than with the unity of the Spirit occasioned through sacrament.

Moreover, once Christianity becomes reduced to a matter of belief, as it clearly has for Protestants, we cannot resist questions of whether those beliefs are as true or useful as other beliefs we also entertain. Once such questions are raised, it does not matter what the answer turns out in a given case. As James Edwards observes, “Once religious beliefs start to compete with other beliefs, then religious believers are – and will know themselves to be –mongerers of values. They too are denizens of the mall, selling and shopping and buying along with the rest of us.”

In contrast, Catholics do not begin with the question of “How much do we need to believe?” but with the attitude “Look at all the wonderful stuff we get to believe!” Isn’t it wonderful to know that Mary was immaculately conceived in order to be the faithful servant of God’s new creation in Jesus Christ! She therefore becomes the firstborn of God’s new creation, our mother, the first member of God’s new community we call church. Isn’t it wonderful that God continued to act in the world through the appearances of Mary at Guadalupe! Mary must know something because she seems to always appear to peasants and, in particular, to peasant women who have the ability to see her. Most of us would not have the ability to see Mary because we’d be far too embarrassed by our vision.

Therefore Catholics understand the church’s unity as grounded in reality more determinative than our good feelings for one another. The office of Rome matters. For at least that office is a judgement on the church for our disunity. Surely it is the clear indication of the sin of the Reformation that we Protestants have not been able to resist nationalistic identifications. So we become German Lutherans, American Lutherans, Norwegian Lutherans. You are Dutch Calvinist, American Presbyterians, Church of Scotland. I am an American Methodist, which has precious little to do with my sisters and brothers in English Methodism. And so we Protestant Christians go to war killing one another in the name of being American, German, Japanese, and so on.

At least it becomes the sin of Rome when Italian Catholics think they can kill Irish Catholics in the name of being Italian. Such divisions distort the unity of the Gospel found in the Eucharist and, thus, become judgements against the church of Rome. Of course, the Papacy has often been unfaithful and corrupt, but at least Catholics preserved an office God can use to remind us that we have been and may yet prove unfaithful. In contrast, Protestants don’t even know we’re being judged for our disunity.

I realize that this perspective on Reformation Sunday is not the usual perspective. The usual perspective is to tell us what a wonderful thing happened at the Reformation. The Reformation struck a blow for freedom. No longer would we be held in medieval captivity to law and arbitrary authority. The Reformation was the beginning of enlightenment, of progressive civilizations, of democracy, that have come to fruition in this wonderful country called America. What a destructive story.

You can tell the destructive character of that narrative by what it has done to the Jews. The way we Protestants read history, and in particular our Bible, has been nothing but disastrous for the Jews. For we turned the Jews into Catholics by suggesting that the Jews had sunk into legalistic and sacramental religion after the prophets and had therefore become moribund and dead. In order to make Jesus explicable (in order to make Jesus look like Luther – at least the Luther of our democratic projections), we had to make Judaism look like our characterization of Catholicism. Yet Jesus did not free us from Israel; rather, he engrafted us into the promise of Israel so that we might be a people called to the same holiness of the law.

I realize that the suggestion that salvation is to be part of a holy people constitued by the law seems to deny the Reformation principle of justification by faith through grace. I do not believe that to be the case, particularly as Calvin understood that Reformation theme. After all, Calvin (and Luther) assumed that justification by faith through grace is a claim about God’s presence in Jesus of Nazareth. So justification by faith through grace is not some general truth about our need for acceptance; but rather justification by faith through grace is a claim about the salvation wrought by God through Jesus to make us a holy people capable of remembering that God’s salvation comes through the Jews. When the church loses that memory, we lose the source of our unity. For unity is finally a matter of memory, of how we tell the story of the Reformation. How can we tell this story of the church truthfully as Protestants and Catholics so that we might look forward to being in union with one another and thus share a common story of our mutual failure?

We know, after all, that the prophecy of Joel has been fulfilled. The portents of heaven, the blood and fire, the darkness of the sun, the bloody moon have come to pass in the cross of our Savior Jesus Christ. Now all who call on that name will be saved. We believe that we who stand in the Reformation churches are survivors. But to survive we need to recover the unity that God has given us as survivors. So on this Reformation Sunday long for, pray for, our ability to remember the Reformation – not as a celebratory moment, not as a blow for freedom, but as the sin of the church. Pray for God to heal our disunity, not the disunity simply between Protestant and Catholic, but the disunity in our midst between classes, between races, between nations. Pray that on Reformation Sunday we may as tax collectors confess our sin and ask God to make us a new people joined together in one might prayer that the world may be saved from its divisions.

Hack Attack: Take your data home for the holidays

20 December 2007

Hack Attack: Take your data home for the holidays

or how to get to your data while on deployment.

Causualty of healthcare

19 December 2007

Today I am working on my deployment ramp up… the Navy IA checklist. It is 245pm.  I cant see, my Blackberry is dead,

I am starved, my shoulder is sore and I cant eat.

I started out this morning with my blood draw.  So I didnt eat overnight.  I

was starved.

Then I had a series of appointment, clearly some were unneeded.

I did update my immunizations and I got a nice big shot in the arm!

Then I ate my sandwich on the run starting at 10am bec I was hungry from

fasting. In one of my doctors appointment I got a call about helping set up Case Management templates for the Navy.  That is when I noticed that my Blackberry was about dead from being in the bowels of the hospital all day and trying to get a signal. At 1230 I had my eyes dialated.  Now I cant see to work or drive but I made

it back to the hospital.

Only after a chatty dental hygienist who was interested in my opionion about

his healthcare while he flooded my mouth.

Needless to say my nose itched, my shirt was wet and when I went for

Listerine before the flouride flush, it squirted on my pants.

Now I am all ready to head to my meeting, but I cant see to drive.  I want to go to the meeting bec there is chocolate there, but as I left the hygienist, ‘Sir ou cant eat for 30 minutes because of the flouride:.

So now I touch type away, cant see the screen, my should is killing me from

my tentanus shot and I am starving like a dog.   I bet the conditions in Iraq will be better!