Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another Revelation

Just recently, my view of George W. Bush was completely turned upside down, an experience I shared here on this blog. Today, another person I have been demonizing through the years blew me away with his engagement in agape goodness: Bill Gates suddenly became a hero.

XBillI have always sworn to different platforms than Microsoft. Well, I did use Windows for a few years, but I always had Linux installed as well. And the recent years, Mac has been the favourite. But that choice might not have been solely based upon objective reasoning; I did not like Bill Gates. He was the incarnation of evil – I even remember playing a game called XBill on Linux; a splatter game where small Bill Gates –figures tried to install Windows on my computers, and my objective was to kill them before they did so.

I was convinced that a man that made such amounts of money and almost had monopoly on the market, had to be bad. I had never even read an article about him, much less heard him speech or got to know him. I just hated him, and a group of us made up all sorts of conspiracy theories. We heard that he gave away thousands of computers to children in Africa – market investment, we named it, blind to the goodness.

That is years ago now. But I kept my groundless scepticism towards Gates, even through my transition into agape warfare. So it was with a slight hesitation that I decided to watch a TED Talk with Bill Gates today. A talk that opened my eyes.

Read more:
TED Talks: Bill Gates Unplugged
Prejudice-creating game:
Brad Templeton: Bill Gates Wealth Index (outdated, but funny)
Warrior of Agape: A Dumb President?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Warfare Experience

GriffinWe got t-shirts from the battalion today. Really cool ones, kaki coloured with the famous griffin on front, and “Norwegian ARMY” printed in big, black letters on the back.

In hoc signo vinces – in this sign shall thou conquer. The griff is the sign in which our battalion shall win. It is our victory mark.

During my first weeks in the military, a while ago now, the priest said something that’s been burned to my memory: Yes, in the sign of the griffin we shall indeed conquer in these earthly wars – but in the sign of the cross, we have already conquered in the far more important war.

I have chosen to fight my primary war under the sign of the cross, and become a warrior of agape. Yes, I believe we have won the decisive battle; yet there are still battles left to be fought. It sure takes the enemy some time to admit defeat. Listening to the February 15, 2009 sermon from Woodland Hills Church, studying Luke 17:22-37, I tried to think through what I have learned about warfare during my military service so far. I came up with two important lessons.

First: Mastering. The whole passage in Luke 17 suggests that tough times will come. And handling tough times is an important part of becoming a good soldier. We have gone through days without rest and food, we have been exhausted, we have felt despair, and yet been required to give another 100 percent for the next day, and for the day after. Experience that may well be valuable in spiritual warfare. We have also had wrestling matches, were sensible and thorough gentlemen like myself for once get to know what a real fight feels like.

CrossSecond: Ready for battle. It is a military principle to always have the backpack packed ready for battle. If the alarm goes on, and it happens to do so sometimes, it is important to be ready. You can’t fool around and look for all your stuff when the alarm is on! No, you have to be packed and ready to go at any moment. This is also a principle that is important in agape warfare.

Always be ready for combat – the next fight might be right around the corner. Suddenly you stand there with some extra change that the checkout lady gave you, and so the battle is on. You need to be prepared for these sorts of fights, or else you might loose them (as I did earlier today. I have prepared revenge, though).

This is how to be prepared for spiritual warfare:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (TNIV)

I am thankful for what the army has taught me about mastering and preparedness. I do not look forward to use my soldier skills in a worldly fight, because I understand killing men as evil. It is not like there is nothing worse than war, sometimes there is, but war is never agape good, and I hope it never comes to that. But I do look forward to combine the divine armour with experiences done in the army, and continue our fight in the war against evil.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How to Make Pizza

This is how you make the famous Warrior of Agape signature pizza

First, you have to get what you need to make your pizza. Try to always buy local products, organic products and fairtrade products when available. If you have to choose between a local product and an organic product, use your conscience. I would pick the local one. But always try to find these honourable alternatives, as the food really tastes better when you use them. (This is actually true. What you know about the ingredients does in fact affect what they taste like.)

There is of course a few basic ingredients in pizza. Theese are a crust, sauce and cheese. For the crust, I usually find a premixed flour mix that contains spelt (triticum spelta). Spelt has the advantage that it grows in areas with rougher climate than common wheat, and therefore take better use of the earth's recourses. Spelt also tastes better than regular wheat, if treated correctly, and gives more energy and contains more fiber. Apart from that, spelt is considered to be health food, if you care for such matters.

I also use premixed sauces. Most types will do great. I prefer the mild types, so that I can spice it up myself with one or two teaspoons chopped chili. Chili is so much more than just hot! It tastes delicious, and gives a magic touch to any food (I've not tried in on pancakes, though).

For the cheese, there is absolutely no choice for those who wish you make an original Warrior of Agape signature pizza. Jarlsberg is an essential ingredient. No Jarlsberg, no signature. Luckily for all internationalists, Jarlsberg is Norway's largest cultural export article, and can be found many places throughout the world. For instance, I found my favourite cheese several times while I spent a few weeks in the United States last summer.

As for the other ingredients, minced meat should be roasted with red onion, green peppers and garlic, and then blended with the sauce. On top of the cheese, you put cherry tomatoes, peppers, leek, sesame seeds and most important of all: Hand-broken tortilla chips.

After the pizza is out of the oven, a few drops of lime juice is squeezed on top. Invite friends, and serve with fresh pineapple juice and iceberg salad.

Read more:
TED Talk: Benjamin Wallace: Does happiness have a price tag?
Spelt: What is it?

My Dream of Good Times

Exhausted after two weeks in the mountains, living in tents and training for a war that nobody can see coming, I'm finally home in the garrison. It is a little weird to call the garrison for home; but at least there is electricity and warm water. I am still at good health, I've had some sleep, and I've just read the week's curriculum in Ex. phil. (Examen philosophicum). It has been a good exercise.

The only bad thing about today, is that the Saturday quiz is cancelled. And I am a little bothered that some of my fellow soldiers found the exercise to be dull. But it was not. And that bothers me. I was most certainly not dull. It was good. Almost as good as a home-made pizza. It was cool. Never mind.

Later today, I plan to watch a sermon podcast from Woodland Hills Church, and then I'll post a few pictures to Facebook, and maybe watch a movie or go to a concert. Or join my friends for a pizza at the nice, local pub. I actually took a course in bartending two weeks ago, and learned a lot of things about drinks and stuff, things that I wouldn't have known at all, considering my unalcoholish lifestyle. I have never been drunk, and I plan never to be. But if I'm invited to pizza at the pub now, I might order a drink. As a simple gesture of appreciation for the invitation. As an act of agape war.

You see, I have a dream of this combined restaurant and electronics workshop, where you can work with electronics projects, order a pizza or a lasagne, tidy up and store your project while you wait for the food, eat, have a good time and informal chats with like-minded friends in the relaxation area, and maybe continue to work on the project afterwards. Whether you prefer coke, wine, beer, a drink or, like me, chocolate milk to go with the food, this should of course be available. A kind of electronics geek's heaven.

There is a lot of things to be done in order for my dream to come true. First, I have to learn some more electronics, so that I can be of any help for my customers, and also so that I can fully enjoy being in my own establishment. The plan is to study for a few years at the ECE Department at Carnegie Institute of Technology, starting this fall. During my education, I'll maybe try to start a webshop selling electronics assembly kits and useful electronics production tools. Or not. I've heard the regulations on the F1 visa is quite strict.

After graduation, or at least after I've finished my master's degree, or PhD, or at the very least after the other jobs that I might take, I'll have to make necessary arrangements for the physical appearance of the workshop-restaurant. I have to find a convenient and nice city, a beautiful wife and an appropriate venue. I have to tell about my establishment to the government, try to understand the tax regulations, learn to lead accounting, get necessary permissions for serving food, and for serving alcohol.

After my small business has been running for a while, and becomes increasingly popular due to it's ingenious concept and welcoming atmosphere, it becomes clear that it is time for an expansion. We establish workshop-restaurants in major cities, I eventually have to take an MBA, and becomes CEO of the multinational chain, giving generously of my wealth to the poor. Or we simply live happily ever after as a small business, I guess I would be just as happy.

The business could also serve as an agape warfare garrison. We would play uplifting music, contribute to our local society in educating children, and give people a healthy hobby alternative. I also hope we can invite interesting speakers that can give average Joe glimpses of insight into complicated science. So many possibilities!

Read more:
Warrior of Agape: How to Make Pizza

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A dumb president?

I guess most of us left-oriented Europeans have at least a few times judged the former president of the United States to be quite dumb. But how can a man that graduated from Yale and served as a pilot in the US Army for six years, be that stupid? The rumours state that he has an IQ close to 91. However, people interested in such matters have found that Bush actually has an IQ of about 129; check out this Google Answer:

George W Bush's ACTUAL IQ

When I read this, I guess had my own prejudices thrown back at me. I suddenly felt like I had to respect the guy, despite our disagreements in politics. Which in turn led me to this question: Do I really respect and value people on the basis of their intelligence? Yet another defeat for the Warrior of Agape.

(...) whoever takes a humble place—becoming like this child—is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Matthew 18:4-5

Read more:
Wikipedia: U.S. Persidential IQ hoax
YouTube: Bushisms