Google Earth

Google has a new tool called Google Earth. It allows you to navigate our planet using satellite imagery. They've tied it to various other search features, such as looking for restaurants, getting directions from here to there, etc. It's kinda neat. Below is a zoom in on the main campus of Southeastern. Ann and I live just NW of this map.

Google Earth

Half-Way Home

Have you ever watched the ground when it has rained too much? The water table is full, so the rainwater starts running off the top. You know what I mean? Well, that's what my brain started doing last week. Greek got really hard, and the information kept coming so fast that I think some of it slid off. Leaked right out of my ears, I guess. In any case, I finished the first semester on Friday by taking two more exams (one for vocabulary and another for grammar). I enjoyed the weekend off, but this morning I start the second semester of summer Greek. Perhaps you're wondering if I'm actually learning anything. The answer is yes! But I still have far to go. I took my Greek New Testament to church Sunday to see if I could follow along with the texts. Although I can read phrases here and there, there are still too many words and verb conjugations that I don't know.

New Lesson Posted

A new lesson in my study of First Corinthians has been posted.

Ethics and the Bible

Imagine this scenario -- a pastor is sitting in his office when a church member knocks on the door and says, "Hey, Pastor, does the Bible say anything about ___ ?" In that blank spot you could put any number of ethical issues that face our nation today: abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, war, cloning, premarital sex, pornography, or homosexuality. What does he say? He knows the Bible speaks to all these issues and then some, but remembering all this might be a challenge.

This scenario was the motivation behind an assignment I had last semester in my Christian Ethics class. For each of these issues we had to list several pertinent Bible passages, as well as some quotes from church fathers, theologians, and ethicists. Being the geek that I still am, I did mine in Powerpoint. I've posted it in my point papers section, so you can download this resource and use it at your convenience. Feel free to modify any way you want.

Point Papers
Free Powerpoint Viewer from Microsoft

The Conservative Resurgence

In the middle of the last century, Southern Baptist Convention leadership and academicians strayed from God's truth into heresy. If left unchecked, the entire convention, including the people in the pews, would have eventually followed. Dr. Al Mohler summarizes the conservative resurgence, which led the Convention back to truth, in a review of a booklet by Dr. Paige Patterson. If you're not familiar with the resurgence, this is a quick and interesting overview of the last 26 years.


I've finished three days of koine Greek, which is equal to three weeks of Greek in a normal semester. Now it's getting hard. Greek is a fully-inflected language, which means they change the endings of both nouns and verbs in order to show things like the case, gender, and number. So for example, the verb "lego" means "I say," but it changes to "legomen" to mean "we say." You have to memorize all those endings. Similarly, the noun "ha doulos" is "the servant" if it's the subject of the sentence (e.g., The servant pokes.), but it changes to "ton doulon" if it's the direct object (e.g., I poke the servant). If you change that to the plural (e.g., I poke the servants), it changes again to "tous doulous." You have to memorize all those endings as well. Of course, it's actually much harder than this. I gave you the transliterated version (Roman alphabet); we have to learn it all using the Greek alphabet with all sorts of extra funny marks to denote things like accents and breathing marks.

Sample Greek lesson

Learning Greek's not impossible, but it certainly is hard work. But I'm really enjoying it. This will allow me to studying the New Testament in the original languages, something that's very important for pastors to be able to do. One job of the pastor (literally shepherd in the Greek) is to protect the flock from doctrinal errors; to do that well, you have to know the original language the Bible was written in.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Last week we took the kids to the see Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. It was a nice, four-story museum with lots learn about animals, plants, weather, dinosaurs, and so on. It was very well done, had many hands-on stations, and best of all was free! It was well worth our time.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Memorial Day

This was a family day for the Garriss clan. The ladies took Brandon and Emmy to a park to play and have a picnic lunch.

Dad and I took Jacen fishing out in the Chesapeake Bay. We were fishing for flounder, but mostly caught croaker -- 25 in all! Jacen caught one all by himself. When we got home, Dad cleaned the boat while Jacen and I cleaned fish; I taught him to scale them. Much fun.

For dinner Karen treated us to a delicious meal at her house, which we topped off with a game of Tongiaki. It was a very nice holiday, over all too soon.


We went home to Dad's for the Memorial Day weekend, which gave Uncle Eric and Aunt Karen a chance to give Emmy her birthday present -- a new scooter! Needless to say she gave it a spin right away.