Growing in Grace

I’m a big Jonathan Edwards admirer and one of his most practical works for Christians is his Resolutions that he made a point of reading every week.  In Resolution #30 he states,

“Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before..”

So how does a 21st century grow in grace every week? There are some things that I have found to help with this. Here are a few suggestions:

Read Your Bible – I know this should not even need to be said, but the necessity to read the bible not once a week, but every day. Without this the whole deck of cards crumbles. Do not neglect so great a privledge.

Pray without Ceasing – This is another important means of grace that should never be neglected, but must be diligently pursued.

Devotional Reading – One of the great awakenings (No pun intended) is that there is a plethora of orthodox Christian books made available for free. Just do some searching for some solid reformers on Google Books.

Social Media – Social Media? Yes, but a great deal of discretion should be exercised. I have found most uplifting to engage fellow Christians and typically what happens are posts of uplifting messages and links to great Christian teachers and documents.

Podcasts – Even if you do not own a smartphone or an IPod-type device, you can use your PC to listen to Christian sermons and podcasts via digital audio. With great resources such as Sermonaudio, you could listen to more sermons than Calvin preached.

Finally, I highly recommend reading Edwards resolutions at least once a week. You can also either add to them or modify them to have a more contemporary context if that helps.

Ubuntu 11.10 – Static IP Address Problems with DNS

I had purchased an uberiffic desktop PC from System76 a few months ago and set it up with a static IP address along with a dynamic DNS name to access from the Internet. Prior to upgrading to Ubuntu 11.10 it had worked flawlessly. After upgrading, all of sudden DNS look ups failed. I searched all the usual places such as Ubuntu forums, mailing lists, and just good old fashioned Google queries. There were a few suggestions none of which worked for me.

Than finally I realized that sometimes the simplist solutions are the most effective so I dropped to a Terminal session and ran:

sudo apt-get remove network-manager network-manager-gnome

Updated my /etc/resolv.conf with Google’s public DNS nameservers, rebooted, and automagically it worked!

How to Install Firewall Builder 5 In Ubuntu

Firewall Builder is a GUI application that allows you to create sophisticated firewall rules. Currently only version 4 is available in the Ubuntu repositories, so here is how to install version 5 in Ubuntu:

1. From a Terminal window type: wget -0- | sudo apt-key add - 

2. Add the line deb VersionName contrib
   Where VersionName is the string of your Ubuntu version such as natty. 

3. From a Terminal window type: sudo apt-get update

4. From a Terminal window type: sudo apt-get install fwbuilder

Linux Foundation Breach

I was actually browsing through the Freedombox site to look at the project and when I clicked on one of the links to the Linux Foundation I received the breach notification that now reads (Condensed Version):

“Linux Foundation infrastructure including,, and their subdomains are down for maintenance due to a security breach that was discovered on September 8, 2011. The Linux Foundation made this decision in the interest of extreme caution and security best practices. We believe this breach was connected to the intrusion on”

They make the statement of “ best practices”. If they were using security best practices should they have been breached to begin with? My hope is if and when they discover what happened is that in the interest of Open Source is that they would offer full-disclosure on the details of the incident so the Linux community can learn from the mistakes that appears to have affected and now the Linux Foundation.

What I find interesting is that as a result of the breach, Linux Torvalds has moved the Linux Kernel project to GitHub. So I’m wondering what assurance Linus feels that GitHub will give him that could not? It really comes to is that they have not been breached yet.

Top 5 Books for the UNIX Security Geek

Here is Justin’s top 5 UNIX security books.

Title Author ISBN
Practical UNIX and Internet Security Garfinkel and Spafford 1-56592-148-8
UNIX System Security David Curry 0-201-60640-2
The UNIX Programming Environment Kernighan and Pike 0-13-937681-X
UNIX & Linux System Administration Handbook Nemeth et al 0-13-151051-7
Building Internet Firewalls O’Reilly and Assoc 1-56592-124-0

How Not to Present An Argument

I recently ran across a post browsing through my “Calvinism” sparks links in Google + and ran across this excerpt that was reply by a person, named David.

I am choosing to address your comment, not because I strive to change your mind, but for the sake of other readers who have ears to hear.

If there is a set of doctrines that are not supported by Scripture, particularly in how to inherit eternal life, then such a belief system is a false gospel. Besides this, if this false gospel describes a god (the one we are supposed to be seeking and obeying) with attributes that are not the attributes that Scripture describes of Him, then the belief system is doubly false. Such a religious system would have to be deemed a cult.

You are saying (at my comment page –8/18/11) that Calvinism matches “the historic views of the church at large the past two thousand years.” This is an unimpressive claim when it was Calvinism which, throughout much of Europe, merely got its way like Catholicism did, through the persecution of those who would not adhere to their enforced state religion. Augustine, whom Calvin quoted extensively, was a very influential Catholic who believed that Tradition and the Church were as authoritative as Scripture, yet Calvinists insist (dishonestly) that it is Scripture alone which they follow. No, Calvinists follow men’s interpretations of Scripture, which means you, as a Calvinist, are not following Christ, but following men’s doctrines –particularly, Augustine’s, Luther’s, and Calvin’s. By the very title “Calvinism”, your belief system is one that adheres to what John Calvin wrote in his “Institutes”. Please do not side-step this fact by talking about “hyper-calvinism” and a “straw man”. Those are typical phrases of evasion I’ve heard numerous times by those who don’t want to own up to what their system does indeed teach.

Now what I find interesting is that the writer seems to define a cult as any religious system that persecutes a group of people like Roman Catholisim did. The other problem is the author is not even addressing the “system” of Calvinism, which is actually what it is. The other problem is the author throws a statement saying that Calvin quoted Augustine saying that since Augustine believed that the Church and the Bible were on equal authoritative grounds that is what Calvin believed.

So what can we learn from this when presenting an argument? A number of things, namely:

  • Context is Everything – Our author, despite her strong convictions really gave no context to her argument nor the context around the quote from Calvin quoting Augustine.
  • Define your Terms – She throws out the term, “Calvinism” without ever defining it.
  • Genetic Fallacy – She attributes what Augustine believed about the weight of Scripture and Church to Calvin, simply because he quoted him.

So it is important to think your presuppositions to their logical conclusions with chains of reasoning that can be used to defend your position and what you are actually trying to prove.

Emacs Cursor Movements

In this weeks segment on Emacs wizardry let’s learn some of the basic cursor movements so you can move around your Emacs buffer faster than the speed of light.

Keystrokes Command Name Action
C-f forward-char Move forward one character(right).
C-b backward-char Move backward one character(left).
C-p previous-line Move to previous line(up).
C-n next-line Move to next line(down)
ESC-f forward-word Move forward one word.
ESC-b backward-word Move one word backward.
C-a beginning-of-line Move to beginning of line.
C-e end-of-line Move to end of line
ESC-e forward-sentence Move forward one sentence.
ESC-a backward-sentence Move backward one sentence.