"Christians and the Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 1, No. 4:  January 28, 2000.
Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.

To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe to
CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real
name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.  (To be
removed from the emailing list, also write to cati@traver.org,
but include "Remove from CATI List" in the Subject line.)
When I was a student at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia,
I was privileged to take courses in "apologetics" (that is,
the philosophic defense of the Christian faith) from the late
Dr. Cornelius Van Til.
I still remember the first class I took from Dr. Van Til.  He
pointed out to us that the mixture of students included both
"bunnies" (with little background in philosophy) and "giraffes"
(who may have been philosophy majors in college).  (I think I
identified somewhat with the "bunnies.")
I don't remember the full details of his comments, but I do
remember that it was important for the "bunnies" on one hand
to be accepting of the "giraffes" and for the "giraffes" on
the other hand to be accepting of the "bunnies."  There would
be something of benefit there for all of us.
This newsletter is, in some ways, similar to that classroom.
Some readers may feel like "bunnies," and some may feel like
"giraffes," but I hope that all will find something here that
is useful or interesting.
It does mean that "bunnies" need to be tolerant of material
here for the "giraffes" (besides, they can come back to it
later when they've become "giraffes" themselves), while
"giraffes" need to be tolerant of material for the "bunnies"
(since "giraffes" were "bunnies" themselves at some point!)
Actually, there is no sharp division between "bunnies" and
"giraffes" here (much of the material in this newsletter
should be appropriate for both).  My point is that reading
this newsletter is like being at a super-smorgasbord:  you
will probably find more food than you can eat, so go for
what you want and ignore the rest.
Do, however, feel free to make suggestions on what I might
include or cover in future issues if you do not think that
there is enough provided in a certain area  (and don't be shy
if you are a "bunny").  Feedback is important to any editor,
and I do appreciate hearing from subscribers.  (Just send a
note to me at cati@traver.org.)
                                        --Barry Traver, Editor
P.S.  Apologies for all of the misspellings in the previous
issue of CATI ("FIlled" instead of "filled," "theologican" 
instead of "theologian," "Interneet" instead of "Internet,"
"Ephesian" instead of "Ephesians," "reseponsibilities" instead
of "responsibilities," "disagress" instead of "disagrees," and
"telphone" instead of "telephone"!).
In order to avoid the appearance in the newsletter of special
formatting characters which some email programs cannot read,
I write the newsletter using not a fancy word processor, but
Notepad, which is a simple text editor.  So far, so good.  But
Notepad doesn't include a spell checker.  To check the spelling
I need to import the text into Microsoft Word, which -- in the
rush of things -- I somehow neglected to do for the last issue.
As is evident, reading and re-reading what was written is no
guarantee of finding spelling errors.  You see what you meant
to type, rather than what you did type.  Sorry for the errors.
I'll try to be more careful in the future.  (And when I do make
a mistake, please let me know!)
When you browse the Web, sooner or later you will come across
something called a "Webring."  A "Webring" is really something
quite simple:  it's a "ring" of Web sites that display similar
interests or a common orientation.  Look for links near the
Webring symbol.  From aht site you can move to the next site in
the ring, from there you can move to the next site in the ring,
and so on, until (if all goes well) you end up back where you
began!  Thus, in a sense, a Webring is really a "circle of
friends," literally as well as figuratively.
     Are there Christian Webrings?  Yes, there are!  For this
issue, I'm mainly confining myself to discussion of one Webring
in particular:  Reformed Women Serving Christ.  It's not the
best example perhaps, but it's also not the worst, and from
it you can see what Webrings are all about (including their
weaknesses as well as their strengths).  You will find the
starting point of this particular Webring (can a circle have a
starting point??) at this address:
There you will find a description of this Webring as well as
the detailed requirements for those Web sites that want to be
part of it.  In fact, here are the descriptions of the twelve
sites included at the present time, provided by themselves:
JoyPals, Design for Life:
 http://www.joypals.com/ (click on "Webrings" in left frame)
 or http://www.joypals.com/rwsc.htm (as mentioned earlier)
Bible-based ministry to women with emphasis on salvation
through Jesus Christ, devotions, prayer, theology, church (OPC)
and music. Life focus on marriage, children, home and family.
Creative skills, design, hobbies, graphics, dolls. Home of the
"Reformed Women Serving Christ" Webring. Home of children's
ministry "LittlePals."
Women of Grace Weekly Devotional:
A weekly devotional for Christian Women explicitly from a
Reformed view. Devotions deal with being Godly wives and
Saved By Grace:
This page has my testimony plus links to a few reformed
resources on the Internet. On the rest of my website you
can find info on subjects such as pregnancy, childbirth,
vaccinations, and infant care.
A ministry to our covenant children. Littlepals is a very
special place for LittlePal Girls and LittlePal Boys with Bible
Stories, Music, Games, Beanies, Dolls, lots of great places to
visit and lots to share. Come on in and be a LittlePal. 
LittlePals is a safe-kids site! LittlePals love Jesus!  
This site is dedicated to applied Christianity. Romans 12:2
says, "Do not be conformed to this world." In a world where
many Christians are looking more like cleaned up versions of
their secular neighbors, this is a call to be different. Topics
include family values, parenting, breastfeeding, homeschooling,
civil government and Biblical law.  
The Titus 2 Woman Today:
The Titus 2 Woman Today gives information for reformed women to
better face the changing world today while striving to raise
their family in a Biblical manner. May these pages prayerfully
serve to edify and encourage you in His Sovereign Grace.
Lorri's Awesome Home Page:
My homepage; everything close to my heart, from A to almost Z.
Home of the Hugeont:
Home of the Huguenot has history of the French Reformed
Huguenots, wonderful links to reformed pages/articles, Chat
room on ICQ, Linked to women pages with recipes, submission
page, Godly woman page, poetry and pictures of the entire
Bergeron family.
Reformed Women:
At this site we hope to do one thing. It is our desire to lift
up Jesus Christ - to direct your gaze toward Him. We believe
that when we constantly meditate upon His works and His 
person, we are strengthened and encouraged to live the
sacrificial life that He has called us to.  
Cornerstone Resource Center
Home of Cornerstone Home Academy. Information and resources
about classical Christian education, home education, reformed
faith, books - literature from our home library that we enjoy,
own, recommend and books we have for sale or trade.  
Christian Quote of the Day:
Christian Quote of the Day provides a daily quote (six days a
week) via the web site or email. Quotes come from great
Christians, past and present, including John Calvin, Martin
Luther, Matthew Henry, Charles Finney, Charles Spurgeon, J. I.
Packer, R.C. Sproul and more!
Hope Ministry Counselling Services:
Hope Ministry is a Christian site, for counselling women 
Biblically, helping them grow.  
Now on to some strengths and weaknesses of Webrings.
One of the strengths is that Webrings can build community and
bring people of similar interests and convictions together.
Once you find a site you like, if it is part of a Webring you
will often find other sites you like by exploring the circle
of links.  If you happen to be "Reformed" in your Christian
convictions, discovering one site in the Reformed Women
Serving Christ Webring may lead you to discovering other
worthwhile sites of similar orientation that you might not
otherwise have found.
One weakness of Webrings is that almost any Webring is a
"mixed bag" in the quality of the sites represented and
perhaps sometimes even their full relevance to the purpose of
the Webring.  Be careful in what assumptions you may make
concerning the various sites that make up a particular Webring.
For example, The Christian Quote of the Day site indicates that
its "quotes come from great Christians, past and present," but
you'll be misled if you assume that all of the quotes on this
Reformed Women Serving Christ Webring site are from Christians
that are Reformed in viewpoint (Charles Finney was an important
American evangelist, but he was certainly not Reformed in his
outlook, as the essay "The Theology of Charles G. Finney" by
the late Princeton theologian B.B. Warfield makes clear).  (By
the way, I heartily recommend the other Christian authors
mentioned in the description!)    
My purpose is not to criticize the site for quoting someone
not Reformed:  I consider myself to be Reformed, and I often
quote people who are not Reformed.  My purpose is simply to
warn against assuming that the presence of a site in a 
particular Webring is an endorsement of everything on that
site (a point with which the Christian Quote of the Day site
would likely agree).
Links lead to links, and you'll find some sites you really like
and some that you may not be so enthusiastic about, especially
when different Webrings start interconnecting.  For example,
the Women of Grace Weekly Devotional site is on the Reformed
Women Serving Christ Webring.  It is also on the Christian
Women on the Web Webring.  If you click on the "Next" site in
the latter Webring, you'll find yourself on a "Ring Page" with
five or six Webrings listed of varying perspectives (including
The Lastdays Net Ring, which at the present time has no members
-- is there something I don't know about?).
My point is that when you follow links on the Internet (even
when they are links that are part of Webrings), you should
not assume that you'll end up at a site you're happy about
just because you started at a site you're happy about.  You
need to exercise some thought and intelligence (and perhaps
some charity) in your travels.  Having said that, let me say
that the Reformed Women Serving Christ Webring is a worthwhile
endeavor and can be a useful place to do some exploring of the
Webrings -- like less organized "lists of links" -- have their
value, and I trust that Christian women reading this issue of
CATI will find some worthwhile sites as a result of exploring
the Reformed Women Serving Christ Webring (and I say that,
regardless of whether you consider yourself to be "Reformed").
If you have comments to share concerning your discoveries on
the Web (positive or negative), please feel free to send them
to me at cati@traver.org, and perhaps I can share them with
CATI readers in a future issue!
Let's suppose you receive an email containing a great joke, a
very inspirational poem or essay, or whatever.  It's so good,
in fact, that you decide to forward it to all your friends (and
even to some people who may be only acquaintances).
Now let's suppose that some of the people to whom you forward
this email message like it so much that they similarly forward
it to all their friends and acquaintances.  Before you know it,
not only this great email message, but also (quite possibly)
all of the email addresses associated with it are being passed
all around the Internet.
This scenario is not theoretical, but actually frequently takes
place.  Not long ago, for example, I received a forwarded email
message that was like Chinese boxes:  the original message had
been forwarded five times, and -- like Chinese nested boxes --
one message was inside another, which was inside another, which
was inside another, and so on ... and each message included the
heading which listed the email addresses of all of the intended
recipients (almost a hundred total)!  And that's not a good
thing, for reasons to be explained shortly.  (Sad to say, I did
not myself respond with the best manners when I responded to
this email from a favorite niece, but that's another story for 
another time.)
I run the risk of stepping on a few toes with this article.  It
is sometimes dangerous to talk about what is considered to be
"Christian courtesy" or good "netiquette" (i.e., etiquette on
the Internet), but this is a friendly newsletter, and a real
friend will tell you if you're violating what is considered to
be proper practice.  (Besides, you're probably already going by
the rules.  This article is thus for other readers.)
Here's the basic principle:  In general, because of a regard
for considerations of privacy, it is considered good manners 
NOT to pass around email addresses of people who don't know one
another without the okay of the people whose email addresses
you are passing around.  
Because of the problem of "spam mail" (get-rich-quick scams or
even invitations to pornographic sites), many people consider
their email address at least semi-private.  They do not want to
end up on a bulk mailing list.  Some people regard their email
address as perhaps similar to having an unlisted telephone
number, something to be shared only with friends and family and
certainly not something to be passed around to strangers.
Alas!  There are people in this world who sell CD-ROMs full of
working e-mail addresses.  You do not want your address to
appear on such a CD-ROM.  Trust me.  Nor do you want to play a
part in a friend's email address going into general circulation
and getting put on such a mailing list.  Privacy is something
that we should protect, and we should think about the privacy
of other people as well as our own privacy.
Here's some good advice on "Sending Mail to a Group of People"
from the book Harley Hahn, Harley Hahn Teaches the Internet
(Que, 1999), page 133:
"You can send a message to more than one person simply by 
putting more than one address in the To, Cc or Bcc lines in the 
header....  People commonly do this when they want to share 
information.  For example, someone mails you a collection of 
grapefruit jokes, and you decide to forward a copy to all your 
friends.  In such cases, do not send a message with a whole
bunch of addresses on the To line and the Cc line."
"Here is why:  Each person who receives the message will see
all the addresses on the To line and the Cc line.  Some of
your friends, however, may want their email addresses kept
private.  Moreover, out of all the people who receive the
message, some are going to forward it to friends of their
own, and ... they will not bother to edit out the header of
the original message.  If the information in the message is
interesting, it will be forwarded again and again, and in a
short amount of time, the names and addresses in the original
message will be spread around the Net."
"In such cases, the best thing to do is to address the message
to yourself, and send blind copies to all your friends.  (A
blind copy is one in which the recipient's address does not
appear....)  In other words, put your address in the To line
and put your friends' addresses in the Bcc line."
Incidentally, Harley Hahn may or may not be what his publisher
claims (viz., "the best-selling Internet author of all time"),
but he has written a very helpful book.  Here's where you can
check out some reviews (or even order a copy, if interested):
The easiest way to use "Bcc" is actually not to "Forward" the
message, but to do the following:  (1) "Copy" the body of 
the original message (NOT including the header), (2) start
composing a brand-new email message, and (3) "Paste" the body
of the original email message into your brand-new message.
Then follow Hahn's hints about putting your address in the "To"
line and your friends' addresses in the "Bcc" line.  
If, of course, you're sending the message to friends all of
whom already know one another, it's not as important to take
such precautions (although it may still be a good idea).  At
any rate, "protecting people's privacy" is an accepted part of
"email etiquette," and you may want to consider adopting it as
your own practice on the Internet.
(By the way, in case you're someone on whose toes I've stepped,
are we still friends?)
For most of us, it is not good stewardship to spend the time or
money involved in subscriptions to the many computer magazines
that are out there.  Instead, we may browse some of the more
helpful ones in the library, perhaps reading a few notable
articles here and there.  Or, more accurately, we may not do
that, since a trip to the library takes more time and effort
than we sometimes have available.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could do our magazine browsing in the
convenience of our own homes?  Well, we can, because -- in the
hope that it will persuade you to subscribe -- many computer
magazines make available their best articles online!
You wouldn't be interested in all of these magazines, but here
is a convenient list of some of the computer magazines that you
will find online:
Christian Computing Magazine
Computer Shopper
Family PC
PC Computing
PC Magazine
PC World
Windows Sources
Yahoo! Internet Life
Note well:  Of the magazines on the list the only one that is
explicitly Christian is Christian Computing Magazine.  Other
magazines may contain at times very helpful information, but do
not look to them for a Christian perspective on computers and
Note also:  All of the preceding except for Christian Computing
Magazine and PC World are published by Ziff-Davis, Inc., which
publishes even more computer magazines.  You'll find details at
this address:  http://www3.zdnet.com/findit/mags.html .
It would be foolish to try to keep up with all the computer
magazines, but you may find one or two on the list that you may
like to check from time to time.  My personal favorites are PC
Computing, PC Magazine, and PC World, which together enable me
to keep up with what's happening in the computer world, but my
situation (e.g., teaching computer science and publishing this
newsletter) means that I need to keep up on things more than
most people in this area.
Unless you're a computer nerd or computer geek, you may find
a more helpful magazine to be something like Family PC or maybe
Yahoo! Internet Life (in addition, of course, to taking a look
at Christian Computing Magazine to see whether it contains
material of interest to you).
Or perhaps computer magazines aren't really your thing:  that's
also a very reasonable position to take.  As I mentioned a bit
earlier, we are called to be good stewards of our time as well
as of our money, and computers are to be our servants rather
than our masters.  We need to keep things in perspective.
If a magazine like Family PC can help us in our family life,
that is something good.  If, on the other hand, we find that
computer magazines (and computers) are taking us away from
quality family time, then it's better to forget about the
computer and the computer magazines (even if we can access
them conveniently on the Internet).
It's all about choices.  This newsletter helps you be aware
of the choices, but it would not be a good idea to try out
every possibility mentioned here.  For those who would read
computer magazines anyway (and have good reason for doing so),
the information here about computer magazines online may be
helpful.  For others, other articles in this magazine may be
more useful and beneficial.  Read and make your own choices
before God!
This is the fourth issue of a free newsletter devoted to
"Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy," 
but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the 
"Internet").  If you are not yet a subscriber and would like 
to become one, send an appropriate note to cati@traver.org.
Privacy policy:  The information in the "Christians And The 
Internet" mailing list will NOT be sold, rented, or given to
others.  (Let them make their own lists! <grin>)
Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.

To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe to
CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real
name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.  (To be
removed from the emailing list, also write to cati@traver.org,
but include "Remove from CATI List" in the Subject line.)