30 September 2007

Josh's Blog

My son, nearly a teenager has asked for his own blog. You can find it at josh.john-simons.com. I have set him up with the newest version of WordPress. I may be upgrading to the new version soon.

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27 September 2007

New Blog Site

I am in the process of setting up a new blog. It is located at john-simons.com. Come check it out. I will be porting all of the posts from this blog over there, once I get the chance.

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23 July 2006

Building a Man

My son, who is also my oldest will turn 12 later this year. I am now looking for resources to help him navigate the next six years of his life and as turns from a boy into a man. I am also searching the scriptures specifically for what character traits are most important in a man, so that I can develop ways to encourage those traits.

Finally, after a conversation with one of my good friends a couple of weeks ago, I am trying to think of one or more rites of passage to help him gain respect for himself and confidence in his own abilities, and to help him recognize the transition that he is making.

It seems that my transation into manhood was in fits and spurts, and that it took a while for my self-confidence to build to a point where I saw myself as an adult. I hope to help his self-confidence come along in stages, so that he may have an easier time believing in his own God-given abilities.

The current book that I am looking at is Future Men, by Douglas Wilson. I have read one or two of Wilson's other books. He comes from a very conservative point of view, almost fundamentalist. For example, he believes that boys should never play with dolls. I am not sure that I am quite that conservative. So far, the book is giving a good philosophical framework for the importance of training boys to be men.

21 July 2006

The Future of Online Bible Study

Wow, it has been a while since I posted anything here.

One of the things that I have been intending to post is about two new websites that are under development. Both have to do with Bible study, and both are next-generation website.

The first, and more developed site, is eBible.com. This website is currently in beta and allows for users to study the Bible in English. This site has several versions of the Bible, as well as a couple of commentaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. The latter are more limited initially, but users have the option of purchasing a couple of additional titles.

The site is missing some features that would be very nice. For example, a way for users to make and save notes about verses or passages that they are studying. It would also be good to see some tools to access the original languages. I have been working on my NT greek for sometime, using hte tools at zhubert.com. I really like being able to access the original language, and it is noticeable absent from eBible.com.

So far this site can only be used by a limited number of people. You have to either put your e-mail address on the home page and wait in line for an invitation, or know somebody who can e-mail you one of the limited invites that are given to each user.

Speaking of original languages, the other site that I am checking out is thebiblos.org. This site is still at alpha development level, and is not yet fully functional. Like eBible.com, the site is currently by invitation only. I don't think that there is even a current waiting list for this one yet.

This site has less current functionality than eBible.com, but it is clear that it will be a great site once it is up and running. Zack Hubert, the creator of zhubert.com is behind thebiblos.org. He has created the Biblos Foundation with the aim of making original languages Bible study accessible to many more people on an affordable (read: free) basis. Like I said, I have been using the zhubert.com site for some time now. That site allows users to browse the Bible in the original languages. For the Greek New Testament and the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament that dates to the first century) the site also has tools to search lexical entries for all of the words, and includes tags for the declension and/or parsing of nouns, verbs and other words. The best part of zhubert.com is that users can create accounts and save their own translations of the passages that they are studying. For example, I am working on translating the Gospel of John, and am currently about halfway through the sixth chapter.

So far, thebiblos.org allows users to browse the NT text, to search the NT text in Greek and English using a concordance, and to look at lexical entries for each word. There is no translation feature yet, but I hope that it is coming. Zack and his team have made significant process over the last month or so since I got my invite to join.

There are two other differences between the sites: First, eBible.com seems to be getting more attention and buzz. Second, eBible.com is supported by ads. Both zhubert.com and thebiblos.org are ad free. It is nice to see someone trying to create a site that is not commercial. I know that Zack is stilling trying to raise funds for the site. His goal is to create a site that can be downloaded and provided to missionaries and others without internet access to provide economical access to the original languages. I think that it is a cause worth supporting.

By the way, I still have an invite available to each site. I actually have a couple to thebiblos.org. If anyone is looking to get inside, let me know.

15 June 2006

BRAG - Sprints with AJ

Someone posted a comment asking about who won the sprints I had with the 11 year old.

I don't see any benefit in answering. If I win, there is no glory in beating a kid. If he wins, I got beat by a kid. If I let him win, he is robbed of the thrill of victory.

Everyone will have to draw their own conclusions.

BRAG Day 5 - Gainesville to Commerce

Yesterday, after my update, I went bowling with the kids. I am not a bowler, but it was fun. Then, the family dropped me off at camp and left for Atlanta.

I had dinner. Then it was time to hang out until bedtime. Steve and Riley showed up and I helped them set up their camp. We listened to a really good bluegrass/country band. Then, we called it a night.

In the morning, my legs felt great! Todays stage was relatively short, about 43 or 44 miles on the route sheet. Plus, it was not as hilly. There was more downhill than uphill today.

On one of the early hills, I got to give a good push to a friend. I rode with Steve and Riley almost all day. We rode past some areas that were vaguely familiar to me, the Chateau Elan winery/resort and the Mayfield Dairy, where most of the riders bought some ice cream. We took a couple of pictures of the giant Mayfield cow.

The final stretch was a long uphill to Commerce Middle School, our host for the night. The town had some cheerleaders at the entrance area, to cheer in all the riders as they finished. It was the best welcome that we have had yet. I had gotten a ways ahead of Steve and Riley, so I turned around and rode back down the hill to rejoin them at the bottom. The second time up the hill was much more difficult. I finished just behind Riley and Steve.

We found our bags. I set up camp. Steve and Riley went and found Steve's wife. It was time for them to go home. They have a wedding to go to this weekend. I have really enjoyed getting to know them. I will miss hanging out and riding with them.

Steve and I have commented several times this week that we have been able to feel ourselves getting stronger. Even as I had very sore muscles on Tuesday, I was climbing really well. It was this growing strength that allowed me to push other riders.

Today's stats:
46.19 mi.
38.1 max.
13.2 avg.

5:37:59 (includes setting up camp)
131 avg. Hr
205 max. Hr

Until tomorrow.