"Christians and the Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 1, No. 13: March 31, 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com, but include "Remove from CATI List" in the Subject line.) _______________________________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. TWO LISTS OF LINKS: MOSTLY CHRISTIAN, MOSTLY REFORMED 2. MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER 5: WEB ACCESSORIES 3. FINDING INFORMATION: FAMILY-FILTERED SEARCH ENGINES 4. IT'S MAGIC: THE "PICK A CARD, ANY CARD" KIND 5. CATI AND FAIR USE PROVISION OF U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW 6. REFORMED CHRISTIAN LITERATURE: ANOTHER BOOK SOURCE 7. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER _______________________________________________________________
1. TWO LISTS OF LINKS: MOSTLY CHRISTIAN, MOSTLY REFORMED
In this issue I have for you two lists of links to some interesting Web sites. Here's where you'll find the first list:
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America: Links http://www.reformedpresbyterian.org/links.html
The links in this useful list at the official Web site for the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America were submitted by the readers of the Covenanter Witness, a monthly magazine of the denomination. (As such, I presume that inclusion in the list represents the suggestion of a reader rather than the official endorsement by the denomination, so if you find any links you don't like, don't blame the RPCNA!)
Many of the Web sites listed are probably already familiar to CATI readers, since they've been included in our own lists of "Some Christian Web Sites" (see, for example, CATI, 1/7), but some of the following links (and others) included in this list at the RPCNA site may be new to you:
Biblical Creation Society http://www.pages.org/bcs/index.html British publisher of Origins (and, earlier, Biblical Creation)
Reasons to Believe (Dr. Hugh Ross) http://www.reasons.org/about/index.html
Center for Scientific Creation (Dr. Walt Brown) http://www.creationscience.com/
Mission Aviation Fellowship http://www.maf.org/ MAF Link http://www.xc.org/
The National Reform Association http://www.natreformassn.org/ "The mission of the National Reform Association is to maintain and promote in our national life the Christian principles of civil government, which include...the following: Jesus Christ is Lord in all aspects of life, including civil government.... The civil ruler is to be a servant of God.... We believe that the Bible requires...any nation, including these United States, to confess the King of kings as its Lord."
"I Smell a Rat" (Dennis Woods) http://www.ismellarat.com/ "These immortal words were uttered by Christian Statesman Patrick Henry when he refused his invitation to attend the US Constitutional Convention in 1787.... Most Christians believe that the US Constitution is a Biblical document from which we have drifted and to which we must return. This web site advances the counter argument (anti-Federalist) that the US Constitution was from its inception an apostate covenant, which broke the pre-existing colonial covenants with God."
Reformed Witness http://www.reformed.com/ According to the RPCNA list, this site is "one of the first-- and still one of the most expansive--sites run by RPs," representing the perspective of a denomination committed to exclusive Psalmody (and to no use of musical instruments) in formal worship.
C.H. Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening" http://www.netpath.net/~lasertee/chs_home.htm Free Devotional Subscription http://www.netpath.net/~lasertee/chs_home.htm#subscription "We will e-mail to you each day's reading of C.H. Spurgeon's 'Morning & Evening.' There is no cost to subscribe! It is FREE!"
Educational Institutions: Study Centers
Echo Hills Christian Study Center (Dr. Jack Kinneer) http://www.wso.net/echohills/index.htm
King's Meadow Study Center (Dr. George Grant) http://capo.org/kmsc/
Educational Institutions: Seminaries:
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary http://www.gpts.org/ Included on the faculty: Morton H. Smith.
Educational Institutions: Colleges:
Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa) http://www.dordt.edu/
Christ College (Lynchburg, Virginia) http://www.christcollege.org/
Homeschool World (Mary Pride) http://www.home-school.com/ "The official site of Practical Homeschooling magazine and The Big Book of Home Learning."
Home School Legal Defense Association (Michael Farris) http://www.hslda.org/
Online Magazines and Periodicals: News
WorldNetDaily (Joseph Farah, editor): http://www.worldnetdaily.com/ Described by the RPCNA list as "A Different View of the News" and by itself as "A Free Press for a Free People," this site --unlike World Magazine--does not have an explicitly Christian perspective, although it does offer an interesting slant on the news.
Online Magazines and Periodicals: Commentary
First Things: A Journal of Religion and Public Life http://www.firstthings.com/ Edited by Richard John Neuhaus, "First Things is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society."
Presbyterian Church in America: Christian Education and Publications: Bookstore http://www.pcanet.org/cep/Bookstore/Bookstore.htm "All prices are at least 20% off suggested retail." Note the new address (the one published in Covenanter Witness is no longer valid).
As I said earlier, many (but not all) of the other links on this list have already appeared in the "Some Christian Web Sites" list published in CATI, 1/7. There is, however, one more important link on the RPCA list of links that we should highlight now:
Covenant United Reformed Church: Links http://www.covenant-urc.org/links.html Described by the RPCNA list of links as "an unusually thorough list of Reformed links," this list contains references to many Web sites you may not have come across before. You'll find the following there: Reformed Web Sites http://www.covenant-urc.org/links/refwebs.html Other Web Sites of Interest http://www.covenant-urc.org/links/othrwebs.html Reformed Internet Discussion Groups http://www.covenant-urc.org/links/lists.html
This is the second of the "two lists of links" I wanted to share with you this week. Since I'm out of room for this issue, we'll have to wait until next time to comment on some of the sites included on that list. In the meantime, you are welcome to explore it on your own. Enjoy! _______________________________________________________________
2. MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER 5: WEB ACCESSORIES
If you're using Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 (or 5.5) as your Web browser, you may or may not be aware that Microsoft offers a free package of eight utilities that work with its free Web browser.
Here's where you can download the Internet Explorer 5 Web Accessories:
Microsoft: Internet Explorer 5 Web Accessories http://www.microsoft.com/windows/Ie/WebAccess/default.ASP (scroll down page for "Web Accessories from Microsoft")
Some of the utilities are more useful than others, but the package may include some that you may find helpful. Here's the list of what they are and what they do (the descriptions come from the review in ZDNet Windows Professional, although I've rearranged them in alphabetical order):
"Image List Shows image sizes and download times for various connection speeds" "Image Toggler Turns images on and off with greater speed" "Links List Displays a window listing every link on the Web page" "Open Frame in New Window Allows you to view a frame in its own window" "Quick Search Lets you reach your search engine of choice faster" "Text Highlighter Highlights text just as you would in Microsoft Word "Web Search Allows for faster Web searches using keywords" "Zoom In/Zoom Out Zooms in and out on any image on a Web page" --http://www.zdjournals.com/w9p/9909/w9p9991.htm
For more details, check out the following very helpful descriptions and reviews:
Softseek.com: Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 Web Accessories http://www.softseek.com/Internet/Web_Browsers_and_Utilities/Browsing_Tools/Review_23452_index.html
Stroud's CWSApps: IE5 Web Accessories http://cws.internet.com/ie-ie5web.html
WinPlanet: Web Accessories for Internet Explorer 5 http://www.winplanet.com/winplanet/reviews/700/
ZDNet Windows Professional: Web Accessories for IE 5 http://www.zdjournals.com/w9p/9909/w9p9991.htm
Check it out!
By the way, CATI subscriber Dave Rastetter suggested this resource. (He gave me permission to mention him by name.)
Note that these Web Accessories work only with Internet Explorer 5 or 5.5. If you're using Internet Explorer 4, you may want to check out the Internet Explorer 4 Power Toys:
3. FINDING INFORMATION: FAMILY-FILTERED SEARCH ENGINES
In the previous issue of CATI, I mentioned a helpful site if you are looking for information about search engines (which can assist you in locating material on the Web);
Search Engine Watch http://www.searchenginewatch.com/
In this issue I'd like to mention a specific page on that site:
Search Links: Kids Search Engines: Major Filtered Search Engines http://searchenginewatch.com/links/Kids_Search_Engines/Major_Filtered_Search_Engines/
As the title indicates, the page does provide links to "major filtered search engines." What do "filtered search engines" do? Here's the answer:
"Filtered search engines allow you to search the entire web rather than just through a handpicked selection of kid-safe sites. Results are then filtered to remove possibly objectionable material."
If you're an adult, don't stop reading because of the use of the term "kid-safe." Such search engines can be beneficial to adults as well, since many adults prefer to have certain "adult" material filtered out.
The point to note is that these search engines with "family filtering" do search the entire Web, unlike most "Christian" search engines, which usually do not search the Web itself but simply a "directory" of selected safe sites. (For a list of some Christian search engines, see CATI 1/12.)
Use a "Christian" search engine to look for material on "John Newton" (author of "Amazing Grace"), and you may come up with little or nothing at all. Use a general search engine (with family filtering) to look for material on "John Newton," and you are likely to come up with lots of interesting and useful material.
For some of these sites, you need to turn on family filtering before you do your search. Here are links to the sites, along with links to helpful related information on how they work:
Ah-ha.com http://www.ah-ha.com/ Ah-ha.com: About Us http://www.ah-ha.com/aboutus/ "ah-ha.com is the ideal search solution for clean, relevant, targeted results. We have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to remove bad and offensive sites, and to make Internet searches more relevant and useful."
AltaVista http://doc.altavista.com/ AltaVista Family Filter: Frequently Asked Questions http://doc.altavista.com/help/search/family_help.shtml AltaVista Family Filter Setup http://doc.altavista.com/cgi-bin/globalff.q?ref=http://www.altavista.com/
GO.com (formerly Infoseek) http://www.go.com/ or http://infoseek.go.com/ GO Network: Search with GOguardian http://www.go.com/GoHome/modules/edit?ps_page=go_guardian&;ps_title=Search+with+GOguardian&ref=/
Lycos SearchGuard http://my.lycos.com/safetynet/safetynet.asp
Searchopolis (search the Web or search Microsoft Encarta) http://www.searchopolis.com/
Unless I've missed something, Excite's Magellan search engine seems no longer to offer kid-safe "Green Light" searching, contrary to the description at Search Engine Watch. (Maybe Search Engine Watch wasn't watching this particular search engine carefully enough?)
Of the search engines listed, my preference is AltaVista (see CATI 1/12 for some helpful tips on effective use of this search engine), but you may decide that you like a different search engine better.
And here are some additional family-friendly search engines that I was able to find (although most if not all of these seem to search directories of safe sites rather than search the entire Web):
AOL Search Kids Only http://www.aol.com/netfind/kids/
Ask Jeeves for Kids! http://www2.ajkids.com/index.asp (see my comments on this site in CATI, 1/7)
Awesome Library for Kids http://www.awesomelibrary.org/student.html
CyberSleuth-Kids http://cybersleuth-kids.com/ ("An Internet search guide for the K-12 student")
Family Friendly Search http://www.familyfriendlysearch.com/ "You'll Search Yahooligans, AOL Kids, Kids Click, and Saluki Search with just one click!"
KidsClick! ("web search for kids by librarians") http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/KidsClick!/
Kid's Search Tools http://www.rcls.org/ksearch.htm
Linkopedia Kid Zone: Safe Web Sites for Kids http://www.linkopedia.com/kids.html (directory search engine at bottom of page)
OneKey: The Kid Safe Search Engine http://www.onekey.com/
SafeKids.com http://www.safekids.com/ SafeKids.com: Child Safe Search Engines http://www.safekids.com/search.htm
SalukiSearch.com: The Family Friendly Search Engine http://www.salukisearch.com/
Smart Zones http://school.edview.com/default.asp "Start Smart" for K-5, "Super Smart" for 6/8, and "Senior Smart" for 9-12.
Super Snooper http://supersnooper.com/ Super Snooper: About Super Snooper http://supersnooper.com/AboutDisclaim.htm
TekMom's Search Tools for Students http://www.tekmom.com/search/
Yahooligans!: The Web Guide for Kids http://www.yahooligans.com/
Zeek Search http://www.zeeks.com/search/ZeekSearch.asp
Unlike the sites mentioned earlier, these sites in general are really primarily for kids and they search directories of "approved" sites rather than the entire Web.
Caution: even "kid-safe" sites may include content with which many evangelical Christians would disagree. Two examples of this: on such sites (1) Evolution is usually viewed as proven fact rather than (at best) a debatable scientific hypothesis, and (2) the gay/lesbian lifestyle is usually viewed as morally approved sexual behavior (in contrast to the teaching of both Judaism and Christianity that such behavior is condemned by God, according to the Bible, which promotes repentance and forgiveness in Christ). (For more on this point, see my comments on Ask Jeeves for Kids in CATI, 1/7.)
Some people find filtering very helpful; others find it less so. But if you are interested in a family-filtered search engine (and if you recognize that no filtering system is perfect), you do have a number from which to choose. Happy searching! _______________________________________________________________
4. IT'S MAGIC: THE "PICK A CARD, ANY CARD" KIND
Since I was a young boy, I've had an interest in magic. One memory I have of my childhood is of my volunteering at a county fair sideshow to have my head cut off by a magician who had already demonstrated how well his guillotine worked with vegetables. (I don't think my parents were very happy about my volunteering, as I remember, but I was up on stage before they had opportunity to stop me.)
I volunteered because I knew it was just a "trick" (I had no interest or belief in what is called "real" magic, black or white--I was smart enough even then to know not to mess around with that stuff) and I thought that by volunteering I could learn how the trick was done. Well, the blade came down, my head was somehow still attached to my body (to the relief of my parents), but I didn't learn how the trick was done (at least at that time).
This kind of magic, of course, is very different from the magic of witchcraft, Satanism, or "Magic: The Gathering." The magic I found fascinating was not reality, but what everyone knew to be "the art of illusion." No one believed that the magician really worked miracles. It was understood that every "wonder" that was performed had a natural explanation. (That's why we said to ourselves, "How did he do that?")
Even recognizing this, some Christians object to this "pick a card, any card" kind of magic because of its presenting fiction as fact, but we allow that "pretending" in other areas of life (novels and short stories, drama, movies, and so on). Other Christians object to such magic because of its supposed association with the bad kind of magic, but in my experience the one is usually the enemy of the other (I think, for instance, of Houdini's crusade against those who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead).
I recognize that there are differences of opinion here. My own personal opinion is that the use of stage magic can be justified on a Biblical basis, including its use to present the gospel, but I respect those who do not hold to the same position on this issue (just as I hope that they respect me for holding to the position I do).
If you're interested in reading a defense of "gospel magic," you'll find one at this Web site:
Fellowship of Christian Magicians http://www.gospelcom.net/fcm/ Should a Christian Do Magic or Conjuring? http://www.gospelcom.net/fcm/domagic.html
And you'll find another at this Web site:
Andre Kole http://www.andrekole.org/ Andre Kole: Magic and the Bible http://www.andrekole.org/magicbib.html
Andre Kole is associated with Campus Crusade for Christ and is a superb magician. His disappearance of the Statue of Liberty trick is legendary, and he has acted as "creative consultant" for David Copperfield, perhaps the best-known of contemporary stage magicians:
The Magic of David Copperfield http://www.dcopperfield.com/
Andre Kole in his presentations presents the gospel in an effective and impressive way. I have some minor points of disagreement with his theology (e.g., he views body, soul, and spirit as three distinct entities, whereas I believe that soul and spirit are essentially at most only two different ways of looking at the non-physical component of man), but I have a great appreciation for the way in which he uses magic as a way to communicate the good news of Christ.
Kole is evangelical rather than specifically Reformed, but there are Reformed people who "do magic." (I remember, for example, a fellow undergraduate student at Westminster Seminary who performed magic on stage and bought from me some hard-to-find magic books. Why did I sell them? Because the tricks were too difficult for me to perform, and he would put the material to better use.)
Here's a very interesting Reformed Web site, which includes on it a magic trick you may enjoy:
Farese.com http://www.farese.com/ Johnny's Amazing Card Trick http://www.farese.com/trick/trick.htm
You'll find a variation of that magic trick plus another magic trick at this site:
Trendy Interactive Magic http://www.new-life.net/interact.htm
If you explore that site more thoroughly, you'll discover that it's a church site!:
New Life Community Church http://www.new-life.net/ New Life Community Church: What We Believe http://www.new-life.net/beliefs.htm
I don't really know very much about the church, but I was encouraged to read statements like the following at the church Web site:
"Man's nature is corrupted, and he is, therefore, totally unable to please God without being born again and renewed by the Holy Spirit.... The Spirit convicts and draws sinners to Christ, imparts new life to them, continually indwells them from the moment of spiritual birth, and seals them until the day of redemption."
Incidentally, that "pick a card" card trick seems to be very popular on the Web. Here's where you'll find it on the site of a Christian singles ministry:
A Singles Christian Network: Magic Page http://www.singlec.com/fun/cards.htm
Because of different perspectives on the issue of magic, I may be sticking my neck out in writing this article. This time I may really get my head cut off! <grin> _______________________________________________________________
5. CATI AND FAIR USE PROVISION OF U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW
I thought perhaps I should state explicitly that quotations in CATI are in line with U.S. copyright law (and not a violation of that law):
TITLE 17, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 107:
"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies ..., for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching..., scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."
CATI is a free weekly email newsletter with the purpose of presenting "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research" related to the area of Christians and the Internet. When copyrighted material is quoted, it is limited in extent, and credit is given to the original source. If the material is taken from a Web site, the address of that Web site is ordinarily provided. _______________________________________________________________
6. REFORMED CHRISTIAN LITERATURE: ANOTHER BOOK SOURCE
I recently became aware of this Web site offering worthwhile Christian books:
Reformed Christian Literature http://www.rclbooks.com/ "With RCL, you have over 300,000 new titles to choose from and the ability to search the shelves of over 6,000 antiquarian book shops across the country for used and out of print titles. What that means is unbeatable selection and exhaustive location services.... Our desire is to enable students, pastors, teachers, home-schoolers, church members, and all other high-density literature users to obtain the books and resources they need at prices that will never hinder them from using the finest materials available."
I have not at this point had direct experience with "RCL," so if you've ordered from them, feel free to send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, sharing your thoughts. Thanks! ________________________________________________________________
7. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER
This is the thirteenth 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").
Past issues: you'll find archives of past issues of CATI available online at http://traver.org/cati/ . ("It's not a pretty site," but hopefully it may be a useful one.) ________________________________________________________________
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com, but include "Remove from CATI List" in the Subject line.) Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is