All posts by Nick Norelli

Just Ordered

I recently received an email from the Westminster Bookstore advertising a book on a troubling subject that it all too often neglected in the church, namely that of sexual abuse against children. We all know it happens but we’d prefer to never think about it or discuss it. I know more than a few people who have been molested as children by clergymen in various congregations. It happens and we needn’t act as if it doesn’t. So when I was met with this email I knew immediately that I had to procure several copies of Deepak Reju’s On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church. This is an issue we’ve had to think about recently as we renewed our church’s insurance. We have to go with a small subsidiary insurance company because no one else will insure us in cases of sexual abuse. We pray that the policy is never needed but if something were to happen, God forbid, it pays to be aware and prepared.

I’m hoping and praying that this book will help to equip the leadership of my church. I ordered 6 copies—one for each elder—and would suggest that it might be beneficial for you (ministry leaders) to do the same in the event that this is an issue you haven’t worked through as a church. I have no idea what the book says, but I stand confident that anyone courageous enough to broach the subject will have thought long and hard about it, and I’m willing to bet that its contents will be more helpful than harmful. I’m grateful that the Westminster Bookstore has made this resource available at a great discount. We were able to get out copies for $10 apiece (50% off the cover price), which is $3 less per book than if you got a single copy (which goes for 35% off the cover price). Those purchasing a case of 24 will receive an even larger discount of 60% off and pay a mere $8 per copy. Money well spent; I’m sure.


Macs Ain’t Perfect

I remember well what kept me away from Apple products for so long: Their fanboys (and that includes girls)! I was bombarded with the constant refrain of how Macs never get viruses and never freeze up and blah, blah, blah, bl-blah. Well, my MacBook Pro has locked up on me a number of times. I hate that stupid little pinwheel! It’s given me fits with recognizing my external monitors while in clamshell mode. So on and so forth.

But today I went to encode a large video using Adobe Media Encoder. I love that program for a number of reasons, one of which is it’s presets, which happen to include some specifically for videos you want to put on YouTube. So anyway, I go to encode this large video file and my MacBook starts running really hot. I use a program called iStat Menus to keep track of such things. So the quad-core Intel i7 CPU was running between 88-95º C. That’s pushing the limits of what that CPU can handle.

In any event, I started to get nervous when out of nowhere, the temp dropped to 45-50º C. I thought it was a godsend until I realized that the file had stopped encoding. And then I was locked out of my Finder and couldn’t access any files on my external hard drive. I’m not positive what happened but I think it was a case of the CPU shutting down due to overheating. I had to unplug my external monitors, open the laptop up, and restart the computer with the keyboard shortcuts.

Adobe Media Encoder launched automatically, showing that the file was incomplete, and I decided to scrap the whole thing and just upload the original file to YouTube without the encoding. As I type this I’m a little more than halfway done. It would be faster if I was working with an ethernet connection but I’m doing everything over wi-fi. That’s another source of frustration. Older MacBooks had ethernet ports. My Retina MacBook Pro does not. I’m going to have to drop $20 on a USB to ethernet adapter in order to get a direct line into the computer, which means I lose a much needed USB port!

Macs ain’t perfect folks. They have their warts and wrinkles like every other piece of technology. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently. Sometimes I wonder if the most vocal supporters are really the most casual users. I have to imagine that other folks doing CPU intensive work on these machines have experienced the problems I have and more. In any event, I’m still happy with the hardware, but I’m not gonna lie and act like it’s all peaches and cream.


In the Mail

It’s always nice to come home from work and discover a package from one of your favorite publishers. Tonight I opened a box from Mohr Siebeck that contained a copy ofCharles E. Carlston & Craig A. Evans’ From Synagogue to Ecclesia: Matthew’s Community at the Crossroads. This is the 334th volume in the prestigious WUNT series. A quick perusal of the preface reveals that aside from chapters 8-9, Carlston is mostly responsible for this volume. The first two chapters are of great interest to me as they are address Matthew’s (presumably) Christology. I hope to have more to say about these chapters soon. This looks to be a dense, and prayerfully rewarding, tome.


In the Mail

I don’t know why I neglected to mention that I ordered a Spigen Tough Armor case for my iPhone this past Friday, but I did. I also ordered a couple of 1′ USB 3.0 cables for when I travel with my computer. Wrapping up longer cables just makes a mess in my bag that I don’t really need. Anyway, here’s a few pics of the new Spigen case, which I love, btw.

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Mark of the Beast

A kid I used to go to church with came in the barbershop I work in a couple weeks ago and started spouting off about microchips and the mark of the beast. I don’t think the mark of the beast necessarily has anything to do with microchips but the devil is crafty. Do you really think he’d be so obvious as to set up a system whereby the world is being told to implant chips into their bodies? That would raise a huge red flag to most anyone (and I’m aware that tracking chips already exist and some people use them for pets and babies and whatever).

Rather, I suggested that chips would be futile since most folks are already cellphone users. Why implant a chip under our skin when we’ve already got a mobile device glued to our hands? We’ve been conditioned to see cellphones as a necessity (they’re not; we got along just fine with land lines before the advent of cellular technology) and whether or not we have our GPS turned on we can be tracked. Our cameras can be accessed. Our information viewed. And a good deal of people, even in the developing world, have cellphones.

Again, the devil is crafty. Why go for something so obvious as an implant when the same technology is already in place? That’s if you think the mark has something to do with technology in the first place. I don’t, for the record, but if I did then I’d throw out my mobile devices immediately and find me a tent meeting in West Virginia somewhere. I hear they don’t have technology down there. Just serpents to handle and moonshine to set your bowels ablaze.


Buyer’s Remorse

So after much consideration and the arrival of OS X Yosemite, I decided to go out and lease an iPhone 6 this Friday past. I’ve been thinking about an iPhone for months. When I upgraded my cell phone a few months back I nearly went with an iPhone 5S. Ultimately I decided on the Samsung Galaxy S5, which I got because they told me that the Motorola Moto X wasn’t an option. That turned out to be false, btw. Anyway, I hated the S5 at first but once I got a case for it and got used to the things that were different I came to love it. I never stopped thinking about that iPhone though.

I knew the 6 and 6 Plus were coming out and I watched the tech chatter for a good while as they anticipated their arrival. Once people had the phones in hand I watched all I could in terms of YouTube reviews. Then various friends, coworkers, and customers had picked up their own. I even had the chance to play with both models in an Apple Store and a local Sam’s Club. In the end I wasn’t impressed enough to bite the bullet. iOS on a phone was just too foreign to me and the hardware, while premium, felt almost cheap because of the phone’s lightness (the same problem I had with my S5 initially).

What I was really waiting for was the release of OS X Yosemite and its integration features. Air Drop between iOS and OS X was something I was looking forward to and while this new “handoff” (or continuity as they call it) feature didn’t seem like such a big deal to me, I was curious to test it out. One of the main things I was interested in was having the ability to make phone calls and send text messages from my computer.

So I when I received a message from Sprint saying that I qualified for a discount on their leasing plan I called the company to make some inquiries. Not being satisfied that the foreign representative I spoke with understood my questions I took a trip to my local Sprint store to ask them again. It turns out that I was able to get an even better deal than the one advertised to me in the message from Sprint. So I assumed that I’d have to order the phone and wait a couple of weeks because they’re on backorder in so many places. Not so. They had the exact model (64 GB Space Grey) that I wanted in stock.

So after I walked out of the store with my new phone I almost immediately began to second guess my decision. Right off the bat I liked the size of the phone. It’s perfect for my smallish hands. That was a pro. But iOS is still so foreign to me. Plus they hide their widgets in the notification pull down menu. I don’t like that. I like a nice big clock/weather widget on my home screen; I don’t like having to open an app or drop down a notification screen to see what the temperature is.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to not having a back button. I constantly reach for it only to be reminded that it’s not there. The worst thing, however, is that the handoff feature is as underwhelming as I initially thought it might be. OS X and iOS already synced through iCloud, which was fine. The handoff feature is a slight upgrade on that, but in reality, it’s not really an upgrade at all. I haven’t experienced a lightning fast transition yet. It takes a moment to load a document I’ve been working on on my iPad or iPhone on the Mac.

And it was a pain in the butt to get going in the first place! The feature just wasn’t working at all initially. I read a few comment threads on some websites and was worried that I’d have to wait for iOS 8.1 to fix the issues. Instead it only required me signing out of iCloud on all of my devices and then signing back in. But there’s something fishy going on with this new iCloud Drive. It’s not nearly as good as Google Drive or Dropbox and I don’t like it nearly as much as the regular old iCloud.

But above when I called the underwhelming handoff feature the “worst thing,” I was lying. The worst thing is that I can’t get the iPhone to pair with my MacBook Pro via Bluetooth. From my understanding this is required for placing phone calls and sending text messages from my computer. That’s the thing I was looking forward to most! I’m going to keep troubleshooting and hopefully find a resolution, but the motto, “it just works” isn’t ringing true here!

Other annoyances with this phone concern the keyboard. Apple’s stock keyboard sucks. Always has. Thank God that Swiftkey is free in the app store and that it comes with swype! I hate the text messaging. On Android phones you can avoid long text messages being split up by adding a slide to your text and converting the SMS message into an MMS and have everything come through as one continuous text. Not so with the iPhone; at least not that I’ve found.

But it’s not all bad. There are things that I do appreciate. I like that my numeric keypad doesn’t disappear on me when I’m talking on the phone. That was a constant frustration with the Galaxy S5 (especially when doing something that required me to press keys on an automated menu!). I also like that I can FaceTime and iMessage any iOS or OS X device from my phone now. The fingerprint unlock feature is lightyears ahead of Samsung’s dismal attempt at the same. The camera, while technically not better in terms of megapixels, is better in terms of performance than my S5’s. Slow motion video is neat. Airdrop is great (but is it really that different from using Dropbox, which syncs across all my devices regardless of their OS?).

There are probably a few more things that I like that I’m forgetting at the moment but at the end of the day, I’m an Android dude. If returning this phone was an option, I’d do it. Unfortunately, I’m stuck in a lease for 2 years. Maybe I’ll grow to love it in that time, and I’m sure as I work out the bugs and put a Spigen Tough Armor case (which is coming today!) on it, I’ll like it better. But right now it’s hard not to think that I’ll be returning to my roots the first chance I get.

Long rant. I know. As they say in AA, thanks for listening.


In the Mail

Wipf and Stock sent along a copy of Brant Bosserman’s The Trinity and the Vindication of Christian Paradox: An Interpretation and Refinement of the Theological Apologetic of Cornelius Van Til. Thanks for Jeff Downs for pointing this book out to me in an email and also here! I’m very  much looking forward to reading it for a number of reasons. To begin, I watched a debate between Bosserman and a Unitarian (I believe it was Sean Finnegan if memory serves) some years back and Bosserman is a sharp individual. He used presuppositional apologetic methodology to argue for the Trinity in a way that I had not seen before him. It was excellent! I’m also looking forward to this volume because it purports to be a refinement of Van Til’s apologetic. Van Til was brilliant, but he was not the be-all-end-all of apologetics. His work can always be improved upon so it’s always good to see people who are trying to do just that rather than parroting what Van Til said and did. And finally, I just love books about the Trinity.