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Archive for June, 2011

Watts Happening Now

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Amp Virtually Finished

This is too cool not to blog

Last night I got my Fender Bassman clone running! Here’s a photo. It’s gorgeous. I call it “Thick Al.” I asked for advice on a forum, and I referred to it as a “thick Al chassis,” referring to the aluminum, and someone thought I was giving the amp a nickname. Sounds good to me.

This is a 40-watt amp powered by 6L6 Sovtek Svetlana tubes. It has a 12ay7 preamp tube (V1), and then the signal goes through two 12ax7s (second stage and phase inverter). The rectifier tube is a Chinese GZ34, and it’s backed up by 4 4n1007 diodes.

It’s the exact circuit Leo Fender used, except that I didn’t follow his practice of always using the cheapest components, and I omitted the ground switch, added variable outputs, and used a 125V pilot light. If I had it to do over again, I would omit the standby switch, as a noted authority has convinced me that they are worthless.

The chassis is a 20″ length of 6″ Aluminum Association channel. I machined hollows in the back to make it easier to mount things. I made the circuit boards using a table saw and drill press. I polished the chassis with an orbital sander and 220-grit sandpaper.

It still needs something to cover the bottom.

A day or two, I did the “smoke test,” firing it up to see if it worked. I kept blowing fuses, and that’s when I learned that the cases of electrolytic capacitors are electrically connected to the innards. I had the filter caps mounted so the leads touched the cases, and that caused shorting. Hey, I don’t make capacitors. How would I know?

I got that fixed, and I built a current limiter to conserve my remaining fuses, and I found that the amp was very quiet and distorted. It took two days to find out that I had put 470K resistors where I needed 470 ohms. Two were on the screen grids, and one was on the phase inverter. I also had a 250pF capacitor where I should have had a 250uF, and I had the volume pots wired so they turned backwards.

Last night I got it running, but it was too late to try it out. Today I turned it on, and I had lots of noise.

I learned a lot about grounds. I had to move a whole bunch of them. In the process, I rewired the volume pots and also the presence and EQ pots (which, I now know, were wired correctly at the time). I replaced various bits of cheap stuff with good stuff, I put a tube shield on V1, and I turned the amp on again.

Still noise.

Then I turned on my Fender Blues Jr. Guess what? It was considerably noisier. That told me I had made it. I got some great suggestions for reducing the noise further, but it’s great right now.

I played the amp using my Epiphone Riviera P93 with Lollar pickups, using a Holy Grail reverb and the following distortion pedals: Plimsoul, Blues Driver, and Fat Sandwich.

The amp is amazing. The sound is very sweet, hot, and detailed. It has lots of punch, so you get a big reward for picking louder or softer. It’s less muddy than the Blues Jrs. Apart from the residual noise, it’s the perfect amp. And the volume actually works! A lot of amps go from 0 to 10 in ten degrees of rotation. On this amp, 3 means 3! It sounds good at practice levels! I don’t need my Firefly now!

I play it through a homemade cabinet with a 12″ Weber Signature speaker (super cheap). I can’t turn it up because the speaker is rated at 25 watts, but so far, it sounds beautiful. I just received a 10″ Eminence Ragin’ Cajun, and I plan to make a cabinet for it tomorrow. That will give me 75-watt capability, so I’ll be able to fire the amp up for real (probably with ear plugs).

I never expected to be able to use this amp. I built it in order to learn. But it’s extremely useful. A keeper. The ideal blues amp.

I just wish the selector switch on the Epiphone wasn’t going out. I have to get that fixed.

I love the way the amp looks. I was going to put some kind of roll cage on it, but I don’t really need one at home, unless I plan to get drunk and sit on the amp.

Now I need a new project. The guys at my church complain that their Vox AC30 amps are too loud; they can’t crank them and get good tube sound without blowing up the church. Maybe I should make an 18-watt EL844 based amp and see if they like it.

It’s amazing how God is taking the old threads I dropped and weaving them into something meaningful. This is a blast.

To See How Small a Preacher is, You Need to Sit in the Cheap Seats

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

God is the Same Size Everywhere

I get flak for criticizing denominations to which I don’t belong, but these days I think it’s fairly obvious that I spend a lot more time criticizing my own branch of Christianity. In that respect, I’m a lot like Jesus and John the Baptist. Jesus was probably a Pharisee, and John was the son of a priest, but they said horrendous things about the religious establishment. Does that mean we should look for opportunities to insult religious authorities? Clearly not, but it has long been understood that the right to criticize increases with the target’s proximity to the critic. Messianics tell us that as religious Jews, Jesus and John could get away with criticizing their own kind. I think that principle still applies, as long as you don’t venture into pointless or malicious gossip.

An organization with no critic is like a circuit with no negative feedback. If you feed an amplifier a signal, and there is no way to limit the amplification, you can get positive feedback which causes the amp to go way overboard, ruining its performance. Similarly, when a church has no one to stand up and say no, it will tend to wander into theological minefields and commence to dance.

The prophets were critics. I can’t think of a single Old Testament prophet whom God raised up to tell the Jews they were doing a good job. Yet our modern charismatic churches preach that anyone who says anything “negative” (they don’t use the term “constructive criticism” much) is sowing discord and gossiping and so on. It’s true, some people do gossip in a malicious way. I know someone who calls my pastor “Judas”, and I’ve been told that another local pastor with a radio show calls him a “white plantation owner” because he runs a church which is mostly black. That’s all gossip and slander. But what if you go to John Hagee’s church, and you notice that he teaches that we shouldn’t evangelize the Jews? I know that makes Jews happy, but we’re not Jews! We should be up in arms. And we’re not. Mainly because John Hagee collects tons of money and has a TV show (we believe all rich televangelists are blessed and super-holy), but also because we don’t want “discord.”

Don’t even get me started on the pastors who claim we can command or “release” angels. Even Jesus did not presume to do that. He said he could call out to Jehovah and have a huge number of angels sent to help him; he didn’t say he would command the angels personally. The Bible tells us very clearly that dealing with angels is dangerous. Scripture vilifies those who worship “the host of heaven.” It says some angels fornicated with women and raised up a race of giants. Jesus told us to ask the Father for things; he never told us to ask angels. In fact, an angel offered to serve Jesus and allow him to fix the world’s problems as its ruler. That angel was Satan, and Jesus told him to get lost. The Bible contains no examples of godly people who told angels what to do, yet suddenly some pastors think it’s a good idea.

Essentially, they are telling us to practice voodoo. In voodoo, you try to command the souls of dead people, and you pray to strange “saints.” In reality, these beings are either imaginary or just evil spirits. A spirit who serves God–we call them “angels,” but not all are angels–is not going to listen to an order that comes from outside the chain of command. So if any spirit listens, it has to be a rebel spirit. If you’re a Christian, and you try to tell angels what to do, you are no different from a santero or voodoo priest. This is obvious to anyone who has read the Bible and who has a basic familiarity with spirit worship, yet now this garbage is pouring out of our pulpits.

Charismatic churches have endemic faults, and one such fault is a tendency to create personality cults. We claim to worship God, but in reality, we exalt teachers and pastors and musicians, as though they were somehow more holy than the rest of us. We even pamper them at the expense of our families and the poor. When they do revolting things, we say, “Judge not!”, as though Jesus had issued a blanket prohibition on speaking about other people’s sins. Paul told us to correct people, and he said that if they refused to change, we should denounce them before our entire churches. Was he wrong? If so, who has the authority to take a blue pencil and delete his errors from the New Testament? If such a person exists, I haven’t met him yet.

Every pastor has sins and iniquities, and it’s wrong to shun a man of God merely because he does something wrong. But what if his iniquities endanger his flock, and he has no remorse and no intention to change? If I found out my pastor spent some nights looking at porn or drinking himself silly, I would be concerned about him, but if I knew he didn’t defend his behavior, and that he was working to overcome it, I would still be on his side. But what if he said what he did was okay? What if he fired another pastor who was in exactly the same boat? What if he invested in a strip club? What if he twisted doctrine and claimed he had proof that the things he was doing were not sinful? A guy like that needs to be exposed and removed. End of discussion.

Self-righteous criticism is a sin. Malicious or vengeful criticism is a sin. But exposing a bullheaded person who is leading others into a pit is not sin. It is something we are obligated to do, according to scripture. When a religious leader’s errors get sufficiently grave, and I have to balance loyalty to man against loyalty to God, God is going to have to come first.

I don’t look to cause trouble, but I am never going to let a friend walk into a trap without saying something. If that means I get asked to leave a church, it means absolutely nothing to me. I pay to go to church; they don’t pay me. I serve the church. It doesn’t serve me. I’ll take my power to bless somewhere else, and I’ll still be blessed. Like Jesus said: “Shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.” He never said, “Hang around and be abused and mocked and taught false doctrine until you die.”

I know a few famous preachers I truly admire and listen to without hesitation. On the other hand, preachers disappoint me all the time. The main things that offend me are ingratitude and arrogance. I don’t like a preacher who feels entitled; as though he’s a rock star. People like this are “stiff necked” in Biblical terms. They are like clay bottles which are already fired and can’t be altered by the potter’s hands.

I know about a preacher who was invited to preach at a major event. Somehow, he got separated from a piece of clothing he wanted to wear on stage. It turned out he always wore this type of clothing. What would you do? I’d wear something else. Seriously, are we superheroes now? Do we have to have costumes?

Volunteers at the event had to find and buy a replacement garment. That shocked me when I heard about it. It’s like something that would happen at a Jennifer Lopez concert. “Make sure all the bottles of Evian in the green room are turned so the caps face southwest.” It reminds me of Hillary Clinton’s famous rule that no one in the White House was allowed to make eye contact with her.

How can this happen? It’s not like this guy was wrong about a minor point of doctrine. He was very obviously way out of line. And he was allowed to preach and receive money! Man, that’s creepy. I don’t want my offerings going to a person like that. I don’t want to hear what he has to say, because “of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

I’ve seen arrogant preachers. I’ve seen greedy preachers. I’ve seen preachers who were obsessed with naming the utterly ungodly celebrities they knew. I’ve seen many preachers whose messages were defensive propaganda intended to keep people from leaving bad churches and cutting off their tithes. The fact is, many of the people who make it to the stage are not great servants of God. They’re just ambitious and desperate for attention and admiration. We don’t know who the real servants are. At judgment, we’ll find out, and I guarantee you, there will be a lot of big-name clergymen and megachurch pastors who get humiliated, while obscure people who sat in the backs of their churches receive praise. Now that I think about it, maybe we do these clergymen a disservice by failing to speak up when they blow it.

When a church cuts off the right to question and exalts a mere man, it becomes a cult. God is utterly humble; you can say absolutely anything to him if your heart is right. Somehow, we’re supposed to give men more honor and deference than that. Does that make sense to you? The Bible says, “Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly, but the proud he knoweth afar off.” It says, “Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will I not I suffer.” It says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” God actually fights the proud. And remember, “grace” means power, not mercy. If you’re humble, God will give you power. Real power. Not just a sweet gig running a megachurch.

Some people teach that Satan broke the church into denominations. The more I think about it, the more I think Jesus did it. He wanted us to be in unity, but he also wanted us to listen to the Holy Spirit. When a church hardens its heart against the Spirit, it becomes part of the natural world, and Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Maybe he reluctantly inspires people to leave and form new, healthy churches.

Maybe the story of the Tower of Babel symbolizes the church. In that story, man used his own limited brainpower to create an astrological observatory intended to give us control over our fate. Man didn’t listen to the Holy Spirit or choose to walk by faith; he chose to bypass God’s plan and do it on his own. In response, God divided man with different languages. Churches that cast out the Holy Spirit work the same way. They think they can improve the universe by doing what seems good to them, and they ignore the Holy Spirit. So maybe God responds by dividing them into new denominations where reform can persist for a while.

We are now being reunified by a common language: the language of tongues. The Tower of Babel story is proceeding in reverse in some charismatic churches. The Holy Spirit, not some central church body run by homosexuals and bureaucrats, is knitting the dry bones back together.

I utterly reject the policy of speaking mindless positivity at all times. I think serious, concentrated prayer is always the first step when a man of God screws up, but after a while, you may have to open your mouth, and you may have to leave. That’s not you being a bad Christian. That’s you getting free of a sick environment and absolving yourself of your share of the collective guilt.

If I ever get in trouble for speaking the truth, so be it. Any church I go to will get more from me than it will give me, so I don’t think I will ever leave a church in bad odor with God, and it’s not like I’ll lose any earthly blessings. I’m not like a person who depends on the church to provide me with a job that far exceeds what my competence merits. Worst case scenario: I get to spend more time doing things for myself and my family. I can serve God and bask in his presence in a cave in the desert. It’s good to go to church, and you should try to put yourself among believers, but my real church is any space I occupy. If ever end up without a church, it will be temporary, and God will go right on taking care of me.

I hope the charismatic churches get it together. Otherwise, we will be the obsolete churches of the 21st century, making rude gestures from the platform while the train pulls out without us.

From Heaven, the Tower of Babel looked Like a Goose Pimple

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Man’s Castles are God’s Anthills

Today I got a great Retweet from John Bevere. His son Addison is entering the ministry. Addison said this: “Sophistry is born when the wisdom of man attempts to define the wonder of God. True religion is marked by faith!”

Amen. If brains were what mattered, we would all be taking our cues from Jews. Christian religious scholarship is not very good, although it’s certainly better than the childish stuff we hear from Muslims. Jewish scholarship is on a much higher level. Nonetheless, we believe our way is correct. The reason is that our faith, power, and virtue are imparted to us supernaturally, not through effort or study. A Christian who isn’t bright at all can be a powerful teacher as long as he allows the Holy Spirit to speak through him, but many of our ancient, revered authorities, though learned, were completely wrong about major issues. That’s a nice way of saying they made things up.

Sometimes people tell me I need to read this or that moldy old book, in order to understand God. Meanwhile, God manifests himself to me every day and does wonders in my life. It’s like being in Paris and getting a phone call from a travel agent in Des Moines, offering to send me a pamphlet.

It reminds me of a line in the movie Patton. The general had just captured Palermo, and a Lieutenant Colonel named Codman told him General Alexander had ordered him not to take the city. Patton said, “Send him a message, Cod. Ask him if he wants me to give it back.”

Before tomes and treatises existed, what did people do? They dealt directly with God. I doubt he shut them out because they didn’t have degrees. Where did Adam go to college? What about Moses? Actually, I suppose Moses would have learned a lot of useless garbage from Egyptian tutors. But we know God spoke directly to him, as did the angels. Many modern Christians would have told him he was doing it wrong. “Tell those angels to get lost; we have to go study God.”

One of the great things about Christianity is that you don’t have to be smart to do it well. Jesus used fishermen to spread his word. You don’t have to be a scholar. Isaiah predicted this in what would later be known as his 35th chapter:

1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.

2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.

3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.

4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:

10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Whatever the literal meaning of this passage may be (people obsessed with reason will get lost there), it also refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who guides and strengthens and changes us. This world is a desert, and the Holy Spirit is like GPS (or a pillar of fire), leading us through it. It’s as though there is a highway before us, and he keeps us on it, even if we are fools. That’s what the Hebrew says, even if some translations change it to say fools will not walk on it.

The Bible is a strong authority. Things that came after it? Not so much. Jesus himself condemned them. In the book of Mark, he said, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”

We have a lot of nutty ideas working their way into the charismatic churches now. A famous TV preacher has people convinced they can command the angels. Which is true. If they practice voodoo. Otherwise, no. Jesus himself said he would ask the Father to send angels, showing he recognized heaven’s command structure. The Bible calls Jehovah “the God of armies,” referring to the spirit beings he commands. When men start talking to mere spirits, they get in trouble, as Adam could tell you.

If you’re a Christian, you have to compare everything to the highest authority you have, and scripture outranks the rantings of publicity-hungry preachers who are eager to come up with the next big supernatural craze. It also outranks the Talmud and the early church scholars.

The book of 1 John says. “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” Either John was right, or he was a liar, and his whole book should be banned. I think he was right. I think the Holy Spirit teaches me, better than any man could, and I think it’s a good idea to discard crusty doctrines that don’t jibe with scripture. If that’s controversial, so is the Bible.

But then the veracity of the Bible is always controversial, especially in the church. “Oh, it doesn’t really MEAN that…”

I’ve also noticed that people from the older churches have a real problem tolerating other denominations. You can go into a room full of Baptists and criticize Billy Graham and escape with no damage beyond a few dirty looks, but if you even hint that Catholic doctrine is wrong, you can encounter some serious hostility, and if you do it in a bar, you may get a beating. I’ve had close Catholic friends who instantly turned hostile at the mention of the possibility that other denominations might be right. It’s like the Mormons; there are some things you can’t discuss with them.

I agree with what Addison Bevere says. Wonderful bit of wisdom.

Heavy Metal

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Amp Nears Completion

I keep plugging away at my new guitar amp. Because I chose to do an original chassis design, I ended up running into a lot of surprises, and they slowed me down. The next time I make one, it will be a breeze.

Here’s what it looks like without the tubes, power light, and switches.

I couldn’t figure out how to give it a nice finish. A thing like this is not easy to fly-cut. Today I decided to try a woodworking scraper and an orbital sander. WOW, did that work. The scraper leveled all the places that lifted up when I drilled it, and it reduced the scratching. The sander gave the aluminum a crazy finish that looks like Damascus steel. It has all sorts of wiggly parallel lines on it. And it only takes a few minutes to clean up the whole amp.

I have one ding that won’t come out, and there are a couple of fairly deep scratches I am too lazy to remove, but it looks great. Someone suggested an engine-turned finish, but that takes a long time to do, and it will show scratches badly. This is quick and unique, and if it gets scratched I can fix it in ten minutes.

The input jacks I ended up using are about a millimeter too big for the cavity I made for them. I did the measurement with smaller jacks. I guess I’ll have to fix that. The other jacks will work fine as outputs.

These knobs were labeled “bronze” when I bought them, but they look like copper to me. Whatever. They still look neat.

I might conceivably be able to play through this amp tomorrow. I have to get the circuit board installed and solder the connections to the pots, transformers, tube sockets, and whatever else.

The only cabinet I have is a 25-watt 12×1. I hope I don’t blow it to smithereens.

It’s going to work. Can’t wait to hear it.

I’ve been getting advice on Internet amp forums, and I can tell I’m irritating some of the people. Some think it’s cool to do a design this weird. Others seem almost offended.

I have never understood people who hate creativity, but they’re everywhere. If you’re a truly creative person, you will be persecuted your entire life, no matter how hard you try to get along with people. I’m surprised I haven’t been burned for a witch.

Welcome to the Church of Tony Robbins, Krishna, Zig Ziglar, and Sometimes God

Monday, June 13th, 2011

VIPs up Front, Holy Spirit in the Coat Closet

All sorts of fascinating stuff is going on.

I started bugging friends to pray in tongues, using timers. Some of them started doing it. Lives are changing. Unity is growing. Now some of them are going on without me.

I didn’t go to my weekly prayer group this weekend, because I thought they were going to talk about worldly things. It didn’t work out that way. One of my friends ended up running the group, and they did what I do. They worshiped and let the Holy Spirit work, and they had a great meeting. They didn’t need me. Thank God. This is what I was hoping for. I’m not the Holy Spirit. If I have to be there in order for things to work, the situation is hopeless. If I get mashed by a bus, the movement should go one as if nothing happened. I’m just one part in the machine.

I’m learning things about the church and what needs to be done inside it. The old churches, especially the Catholics, teach idolatry and apostasy. The new churches, like my own denomination (the Assemblies of God) are absolutely CONSUMED with greed and lust for power. They use the Holy Spirit as an excuse to glut their flesh and take advantage of God’s people. On the whole, the newer churches are better off, because the Holy Spirit still has a seat at the table. People still pray in tongues and admit God does miracles. They don’t pray to a mere woman or to so-called “saints.” So I think it’s possible to take people within the new denominations and break them loose.

I’m coming to some conclusions that I think are sound.

1. The idea that you have to give huge amounts of money to the church is just stupid.

According to Aaron, the Jews used to teach that 20% was a good maximum. I’m sure there are many times when the Holy Spirit calls on people to give more, but the most my church can count on from me from now on is 10%. If they were doing something remarkable with the money, it would be a different story, but they’re not.

We have been taught that God will make people prosperous if they give enormous, burdensome offerings. I can tell you for a fact: it’s not true. I believe God expects us to tithe, and that he rewards us for it. I am positive God rewards people here on earth for giving to the poor, because he promises it. But if your pastor comes begging you for $50,000 because he put your church in debt without counting the cost, he’s just wrong, and God is not going to give the money back to you, and there ain’t going to be no “hundredfold return.” If you hang around Christians long enough, you will meet lots of people who give to ministries but don’t do well, and that proves our doctrine is off. I can name names, and if money-crazy ministers challenged people like me, a flood of witnesses would come forward and bury them, bringing receipts.

No one ever teaches us to pay our debts to man before we offer money to God, but it should be obvious that this is required. Yet we are often encouraged to give money we don’t have, without asking ourselves what we owe. Why would God reward you for giving him stolen property? We teach people to max out their credit cards in order to buy ministers jets. That’s sinful, plan and simple. God hates debt. Jesus told us to avoid oaths (including the one you make when you agree to borrow money). How can any teacher tell us we should borrow in order to give? Seems to me that if you stiff Mastercard in order to give to Benny Hinn, if anyone should get the blessing, it’s Mastercard. They’re the ones who took the hit, right?

Rarely do we hear that God won’t give us money if we are greedy or irresponsible or covetous. If you have a lust problem, do you think God is going to make you the coach of a girls’ swimming team? If you have a gluttony problem, do you think God is going to give you an ice cream factory? Why would your father, who loves you, curse you with something that would destroy you? If he’s trying to bring you shalom, including prosperity and contentment, he’s not going to hand you a needle and tell you to shoot up.

Rarely do we hear that God likes it when we give to the poor. Over and over, we hear that God wants us to bless MINISTRIES. Coincidentally, ministries buy big houses and cars for ministers. The guys who tell us God wants us to bless ministries. No conflict of interest there. Perish the thought.

How often do we hear a minister quote God’s promises to help those who help the poor? Like once a month? Many ministers don’t want us helping the poor, because they see the poor as competition. Terrible thing to say, but true. Give Pastor X a hundred bucks, and he’ll take fifty for himself. Then his employees get thirty. Then the ministry gets fifteen. After that, the poor lick the dirty dishes.

Here’s what I believe. You give generously to your church, IF they use the money wisely. Otherwise, you give judiciously. You give generously to the poor, and you make very sure the charities you choose aren’t pocketing most of the cash. You take care of your family before the poor. Especially older relatives.

2. It’s not a numbers game.

Some ministers will do anything to get people to accept salvation. They will say homosexuality and fornication are fine. They will use worldly music that leads kids into sin. They will chicken out when it comes to politics, refusing to warn their flocks about the evils of voting the wrong way on abortion, Israel, the church, and sexual sin. They will welcome worldly teaching into their churches. They’ll do absolutely anything to appear cool and hip. They end up with churches full of people who think they’re in nightclubs. Their flocks stay ignorant about idolatry and other sins. In short, they turn their churches into extensions of the godless world, and they excuse it by saying souls are all that matter.

Souls are NOT all that matter. We are supposed to put people in touch with the Holy Spirit and teach them about sin. Jesus didn’t die to save the whole world. Some people are going to hell. We should be raising up real Christians. When you don’t do that, your church gets more and more worldly over time, and a generation or two down the road, it’s completely ruled by Satan. It’s better to have a good church with 200 members than a nightclub church with 50,000 members.

3. You should spend your time the way you spend your money.

If your church is doing foolish things, don’t volunteer. Stay home and pray. Sometimes you’ll want to be there so you can be a good influence, but you shouldn’t let them turn you into a doormat. People, especially kids, will think you approve of what’s going on. You can always find something good to do with your time; don’t let misguided people waste it and make you feel used.

4. A church that doesn’t promote from within is out of God’s will.

If your church seems to do a whole lot for the pastor and his family and friends, while ignoring gifted or helpful people who are not in the inner circle, something is wrong, and you need to pray for change. God doesn’t send talented people to churches so they can be milked like cattle, while connected but clueless people get endless support. That’s how the godless world operates. People cheat the gifted and keep them down. They take their achievements. They take their creations and the money they generate. A church that works that way is an extension of the world. It’s the church of Satan. If your church doesn’t reward you and work with you after a reasonable amount of time, cut it off. God prunes unfruitful branches, and you’re not expected to be nicer than he is.

5. A church should have open books.

If you pay the bills, you have the right to look at the books. A pastor who won’t publish an annual report, with details, is slapping the face of the people who feed him. There should be no such thing as blessing without accountability. Did your pastor fly to China and take his family with him? Maybe you paid for it. You have a right to know.

6. A church that takes “wisdom” from the ungodly world is serving Satan.

Remember how it worked in the Bible? The Holy Spirit filled people, and they did miracles. They took away people’s pain. They gave people peace. Naturally, people wanted to learn from them, so their lives would be improved.

Now we don’t do that. We look to see what wordly people are doing, and we say pathetic things like, “God doesn’t want the WORLD to get all the benefit of this stuff.” So we find ourselves doing yoga and using visualization techniques. We steal positive thinking doctrine from Dale Carnegie and the Scientologists.

WHO WANTS THAT CRAP? It won’t heal cancer! It won’t give you a personal relationship with God! What does it have to do with Christianity? NOTHING. If anything, it puts distance between you and God. He wants you to be blessed through faith, not gimmicks and idolatry.

The history of the church is a story of revolution. God comes and puts things right, and man corrupts it. God comes and throws out the men who usurped his power, and he puts things right again, and he puts better people in charge. Man corrupts it. The cycle repeats, over and over. Right now, the Spirit-filled churches are swimming in their own filth. We love wealth. We love seeming hip. We love cameras and stadiums. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit might as well be hogtied. And believers are being swindled. Eventually, they will rise up and demand accountability. What will our money-stuffed evangelists say? They can’t preserve capital; they destroy it. They can’t repay, because they waste what we give them. They don’t build anything profitable with it.

A capitalist who takes your money may build factories that take raw goods and add value to them by turning them into manufactured items. A ministry doesn’t build factories or other wealth-generating apparatus. They take from givers, spend, and then take more. They sink money. They can’t repay what they take, because they don’t create anything.

7. A church that takes from the poor and gives to the rich is sick.

If your church feeds donated money to wealthy singers and speakers, paying them handsomely for showing up and drawing crowds, there is a problem. In fact, I take a dim view of any event you have to pay to attend. Perry Stone doesn’t charge people to go to his conferences. If you show up, you’re allowed in. Why would I charge to introduce people to the Holy Spirit? God didn’t charge me. Why would I bar the door with a toll, when God held it open for me?

Also, if your church asks volunteers to inconvenience themselves and spend money in order to help rich friends of the ministry who aren’t involved in events at your church, look out. If you volunteer to help your church, it doesn’t mean they can ask you to trim the pastor’s hedges or deliver his pals’ luggage from the airport. Volunteers should only be asked to do things that benefit the church. Anything else is corruption. How would you feel if you found out Barack Obama was sending the Secret Service to wash Barbra Streisand’s car?

8. A church that doesn’t welcome criticism is in Satan’s control.

If you read the Bible, you will see that generally, God’s servants were critical. They didn’t show up to tell people they were doing great. They told them to repent. But these days, some churches tell their flocks that anyone who points out an obvious and shameful problem is a Judas. Clearly, you can’t run a church when everyone criticizes without letup. But a church that bans criticism is doing the same thing the Nazis, Communists, and Islamists have done. Satan likes to protect his lies, so when he gets control of an organization, the first thing he does is ban free speech. If you can’t speak up in your church, it’s not because God wants unity. It’s because Satan doesn’t want to be exposed. Cockroaches instinctively fear light.

9. A church that kisses up to the rich is in error.

If a rich person shows up at your church, and the pastor automatically puts him in the front row, look out. He’s blessing someone Satan has already blessed. He’s saying wealth is proof of God’s approval, and that people who are not rich are inferior. The perversity of this mindset should be obvious to a small child, yet pastors don’t see it. If your pastor brags because a celebrity showed up in church, it’s not a good sign.

I think there is going to be a tongues movement. God doesn’t wait around forever while man runs the church and fills his pockets. God is going to reach down and create a church within a church and a nation within a nation. We will be persecuted by the church the same way early Christians were persecuted by Jews. We’ll communicate through whispers and glances. And slowly, we’ll cut out a big portion of the people and churches that are currently held captive. I see it happening around me. It’s not going to stop. God ordained it, so man can’t oppose it.

Like Samson, Spirit-filled people will shake themselves and use the strength of the Holy Spirit to snap the cords that bind them. Believers who refuse to listen will be like Samson after Delilah shaved him. They’ll be defeated by the world, blinded spiritually, and put to work grinding the world’s grain. God’s strength will not be in them. That’s what I believe or at least expect.

I feel like I know where I stand now, with regard to the church. I am at peace. I am not going to strive with my earthly tools and fight incompetent and corrupted people. God will clear a path for me, if I listen to him, and he will clear paths for my friends. His sleeper cells will be preceded by powerful spirits that serve God.

It’s a wonderful thing to witness. I’m so glad I didn’t have to spend my whole life being defeated by people who claim to serve God yet oppress his servants.

Have we Really Been Fair to Satan?

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

He Does Such Swell Stuff for People

Remember the chapter in Luke where Jesus sat the disciples down and had them do yoga? He said, “I know it comes from a Satanic religion, but it really makes you flexible, and it’s okay, as long as you don’t pray to demons.”

Wait…he didn’t do that? Are you sure?

I had a Facebook discussion this week about yoga. A friend asked if it was okay for a Christian to do it, and of course, I said it was not. And I pointed out that it was very strange, seeing Christians argue over HOW MUCH of a Satanic religion it was okay to adopt.

Yoga is a religious practice. It’s part of Hinduism. Look it up. The postures were created as offerings to demon “gods” worshiped by Hindus. And if you get beyond the stretching and sitting, they’ll teach you Satanic mysticism, including things like meditation.

Christians will try to tell you that Hindu meditation is okay, because the Bible tells us to meditate. Unfortunately, they have not looked up “meditate” in a concordance. Two Old Testament terms translated as “meditate” mean to murmur or to concentrate, presumably on God’s word.

Here; take a look at a yoga expert’s explanation of meditation:

In the yogic context, meditation, or dhyana, is defined more specifically as a state of pure consciousness. It is the seventh stage, or limb, of the yogic path and follows dharana, the art of concentration. Dhyana in turn precedes samadhi, the state of final liberation or enlightenment, the last step in Patanjali’s eight-limbed system. These three limbs—dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (ecstasy)—are inextricably linked and collectively referred to as samyama, the inner practice, or subtle discipline, of the yogic path.

Right, right. Totally harmless. Nothing there to alarm a Christian. We all recall Jesus telling us how we needed to stretch our way to final liberation and achieve the last step in Patanjali’s eight-limbed system.

Are we dense, or what? HELLO? This is idolatry and mysticism. How could it be any more clear? What will it take? Do they have to give you an “I Heart Satan” T-shirt when you sign up, in order to get the message through your skull?

I am really fed up with wordly and/or Satanic (same thing) practices worming their way into the church. I am sick of “life coaches,” large group awareness training (i.e. cults), positive thinking, yoga, motivational speakers, positive visualization, and self-help gurus.

None of this stuff has anything to do with Jesus.

Here is one of the fundamental truths of Christianity. People try to fix their own lives without God, and they fail. They suffer, so they turn to Jesus. That’s how it works. You don’t turn to Jesus and then fix your life without God’s help.

People need to stop making excuses for God. That’s one of the problems here. People become Christians, and God doesn’t make their lives perfect overnight, and they hear bad teachings which don’t pan out (thousand-dollar seed gift, commanding the angels, etc.), and they try to come up with explanations, in order to preserve what little faith they have. One of the explanations is this, even if it’s never spoken expressly: “You have to work and find solutions to your problems and make things happen, and then you give God credit because he allowed you to succeed.”

People give up on God’s help, so they try yoga, self-esteem building, Dale Carnegie, and other worldly, ineffective nonsense. It works in the short term, so they run around telling people God blessed them. Worst of all, they tell people it proves God helps those who helps themselves, which is a huge lie not found in the Bible. God helps those who admit they can’t help themselves.

Here’s another truth: Christianity isn’t about making life perfect. The poor will always be with us, according to Jesus. Disease will always be with us. We will not get everything we want in life. People will die in accidents. Good people will not do well in business. Babies will be born deformed. The purpose of becoming a Christian isn’t to make your life perfect, although it may get very, very, VERY good.

Why do I point this out? Because many Christians think that any type of success pleases God. If yoga makes you healthier, it must be okay with God. If LGAT (large group awareness training, like EST and the Landmark Forum) cults help people succeed in business, they must please God. If you give money to poor people and help them temporarily, it must please God.

That’s crazy. God’s kingdom is not of this world. Suffering is part of his plan. Very often, “fixing” a problem by worldly means is the worst thing you can do. It’s not okay to practice demonic Hindu methods just because it makes your back feel good. It’s not okay to achieve success through cult training; in all likelihood, you’re just dodging something God wants you to go through. It’s not okay to let self-help gurus train you to be aggressive and conceited; God says to be humble and rely on him.

When you help yourself by means God never wanted for you, God takes his hands off and stops blessing you until you face-plant.

When the king of Israel turned to the Egyptians to fight his enemies, instead of turning to God, he was cursed and rebuked for it. He trusted man instead of God, and he got slapped down. Somehow, we think we’re different. We think we can get exactly what WE choose, through any means we want, instead of waiting to find out what God wants for us. We get earthly success through carnal means, and then we claim we’re blessed. Then God’s fire comes and burns it up, and we’re back at square one.

Why not take the straight path? If you’re a knowledgeable Christian, what excuse do you have for wasting time on this nonsense? Isn’t it better to lack for a while and then get a real blessing than to take what you want by force and then pretend God gave it to you?

I am reminded of the story about the little boy who prayed for a new bike and didn’t receive it. Finally, he stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness.

This is why liberalism is such a problem in the church. We aren’t content with God’s time-consuming ways. It’s not enough to have him work inside us individually and improve us one at a time. We think God’s kingdom is of this world. We have to have peace, love, unity, prosperity, and free puppies and kitties for everyone, NOW! NOW! NOW! So we don’t wait for God’s way. We say homosexuality is wonderful. We say socialism is God’s way, even though it isn’t mentioned once in the Bible. We support gun control, even though the Bible calls Jehovah “the God of armies” and Jesus ordered his disciples to carry swords. We say Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and other Satanic diversions are “other valid paths” to God. We adopt any worldly or occult practice that seems to work, and we call it good, because GOD WOULDN’T WANT TO DEPRIVE HIS PEOPLE OF ANYTHING.

What a load. Shame on us.

When Job’s children died and his wealth disappeared and he was covered with pus-oozing boils, did he join a yoga class? Did he start watching Oprah? Did he join a cult and take part in a humiliating seminar in a hotel ballroom? No. He said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” He thought he could defend himself before God, and he was wrong, but he didn’t turn to a swami to solve his problems.

God blesses people here on earth, especially if they give alms (Psalm 41), but that’s not his primary purpose. You may not get everything you want. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to try to get your stuff from the devil or from man. Remember Abraham? He had the opportunity to become rich by accepting goods from the King of Sodom, and he said, “I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.”

Christians need to learn this: you don’t judge the righteousness of an act by its positive earthly result. You judge it by the Holy Spirit and scripture. That which seems to bless you is not necessarily good, and it may be a great evil.

Satan shoves this filth into the church in order to take away people’s longing for God. He says, “See? You don’t need to wait for supernatural help. Get what you want on your own. This is what God really wants. Surely you didn’t think he was going to give you things for nothing! You don’t deserve it! God wants you to earn things!” Meanwhile, the Bible tells us over and over that God gives us what we don’t deserve, and that he paid virtually the entire price. It tells us that trying to save yourself is proud and rebellious.

When I first resumed going to church, I put up with a lot. I reminded myself that I was under the authority of other people, and that God had put them over me. I told myself I had to be patient, and that when they seemed to screw up, there would be blessings in going along with it. I felt it was rebellious and divisive to speak up.

Now I’ve modified that a little. I believe you give people reasonable slack, and then you stand up for God and open the mouth God gave you. I was not reborn to serve clergymen. I was reborn to serve the one who made them from sand and salt and water.

Some people claim the church is divided because rebellious people split off in order to get their own way. That’s a distortion straight from hell. The church is divided because churches become corrupt, and sometimes good people have to leave in order to serve God. Sure, some people are rebellious and divisive. But that’s not the whole story. How long do you serve a church that mixes paganism with Christianity? How long do you stay in a church which teaches that the Holy Spirit’s manifestations are demonic? How long do you serve a church that has a gay pastor who teaches with his husband in the first row? Do you seriously think God expects us to eat filth forever? Of course not.

You should try not to offend people, but you also have a duty to let people know when they’re in trouble, and that is more important than getting along with others. Through Ezekiel, God told us we would be guilty of the blood of sinners we did not warn.

Every prophet offended the church. A whole slew of them were martyred. If you haven’t made anyone in the church angry, you’re doing something wrong. Jeremiah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and Stephen were better servants of God than our modern Pastor Feelgoods. I know I’ll annoy people eventually, but when they pit themselves against God, what choice do I have?

I will wait on the Holy Spirit, and I will open my mouth when I have to. If some people don’t like me, so be it. They are not my judges.

Totally Tubular

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Neandernerd and his Cave of Even-Order Harmonics

I had to put the AC plug in my amp chassis today. I knew this might be a problem, since the chassis is 3/8″ thick and a bit floppy for milling. I had selected a three-prong receptacle that required a hole 1.1″ by 1/25″ in size.

I was able to use the mill to waste excess metal, but it was no good for making the contours of the hole. I tried everything I knew. Fein Multi-master. Rotary flex shaft tool. Files. Everything was slow and hard to use.

I decided to get crazy and try the drill press.

You won’t believe this. You can mill aluminum with a step bit on a drill press.

First I used the mill to reduce the thickness to 1/8″ in the applicable area. I was able to orient the chassis so I could do this easily, but orienting it so I could cut the hole was not possible.

Then I stuck a cobalt unibit in the drill press and went to town. I learned two things.

1. If you hang onto an aluminum workpiece and drag it by a unibit, it mills pretty well.

2. You can use a unibit as a very precise and quick nibbler. Seriously. You raise it a step, move the work over to it, and lower the step through the metal. I’m sure this is like #3 on just about any video of workshop no-no’s that will get you fired (right after using a lathe while wearing a grass skirt and dreadlocks), but it really works.

I only wish I had figured this out right off the bat. I could have wasted the metal with the unibit and then nibbled it to fit. I had to file the corners a little, but that was a cinch.

Here’s the obvious question: why didn’t I use a cord that only required a round hole?

Look, shut up.

Okay, I’m stupid. That’s the reason. Everyone uses computer-style receptacles these days, so I although I thought about an old-style cord, I forgot about it when I ordered the parts.

Never again. Trust me on that. An old-fashioned cord with strain relief is just as good. I think it’s better. No one is going to kick it out of your amp when they walk by.

The chassis is basically done. I have to drill a couple of round holes and get wood screws to hold everything down, but that’s it. Now it’s just a matter of soldering, adding knobs, adding a structure to protect the tubes, and turning it on.

I’m dead-set on wood screws. They won’t vibrate off like machine screws with nuts. They hold really well. And if I use short ones, they won’t protrude into the chassis and aggravate me like machine screws. And no nuts to fool with! I hate turning a screw with one hand and holding a slippery nut with the other.

I should have finished the amp today, but Mr. Amp Genius had to have his three-prong receptacle.

My mill is driving me nuts. The power feed failed, so I have to turn the dials by hand, and they’re getting so you really have to apply pressure to make them engage. Tips would be appreciated. There are nuts at the ends of the screws that–I think–may adjust this. I plan to crawl around under the table and see.

That’s the weekend! Yeah, dawg!

I can’t help it.

Ready to Rock

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Yeah, Dawg

The hard work on my amp is all done. From here on out, it’s small strokes. Here’s what I got:

There are two hollowed-out places behind the front panel now. The first one is where I put all the stuff you see now. The other one will make it easier to mount switches and a light, although it really isn’t needed, since switches have long threads and the light has a long housing.

I may forgo a cabinet. I’m very tempted to turn this into an industrial-looking all-metal amp. Not steampunk, but closer to that than Fender. I would need to come up with a nice-looking cage to go over the top and protect the tubes. Hey…I wonder if I could fill copper tubing with epoxy, bend it to a suitable shape, and let it harden. By itself, copper is too flimsy. Although I suppose pipe might work. I have things for bending tubing.

I can’t wait to fire it up and see if it explodes. Maybe tomorrow. I won’t have knobs by then, however. Unless I go with Radio Shack.

I need a reasonably priced tool to check capacitances. I don’t know why, but capacitors are marked in ways nobody can read. My Fluke meter only goes down to nanofarads. I have a whole drawer full of capacitors, and I can’t read them. Even the Internet is useless.

I don’t know what I’ll do with a 30-watt amp. Put my speaker cabinet in an isolation box, maybe. My speaker is only rated at 25 watts, though.

I am loving this project.

And now I think I’ll embed a stupid commercial because it cracks me up.

Someone please tell me what a bro-stache is.

No, don’t.

BLOGWAR!!!

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Them’s Fightin’ Words!

A certain blogress grand diva has impugned my culinary skills by pointing out that my recipe for BBQ beans starts with canned beans and ketchup! Oh, the treachery! She says her beans have to be cooked from scratch!

You know, there are some things you shouldn’t try to cook from scratch. Try making Rice Krispies Treats from scratch some day. Not going to happen. I make my own guitars, amps, bullets, beer…but dang, I’m not going to make my own ketchup or grow beans again. The climate down here kills everything. I couldn’t grow tomatoes if I wanted to.

I respect the whole SHTF movement, but you pretty much have to take over a county if you really want to be self-sufficient. Even in the old days, people bought things like sugar, coffee, and flour.

Anyway, I will defend my beans to the death. They are totally righteous.

Only God Can Unfire a Pot

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11

Drudge links to a remarkable story today. Some guy got involved with a woman who had student loans she wasn’t paying off, and a SWAT team broke into his house in the middle of the night to search the place. They put him in a patrol car and left him there for six hours. The part where they attacked him and not her makes perfect sense. This is the government we’re talking about. The people liberals trust to solve their problems.

I had no idea Uncle Sam got this crabby about getting his money! I know some people who might want to start wearing expensive underwear, so they look their best when the cops drag them outside at 4 a.m.

Student loans are bad news. You can’t get out of them by declaring bankruptcy or crying poverty. You pretty much have to be dead or dying in order to get forgiveness. If you don’t pay, the interest just keeps building, and then Sallie Mae gives up and adds it to the principal. Then they have the right to charge you interest on the interest you didn’t pay. So you can turn a $100,000 debt into $200,000, if you really try. And the IRS can come in and collect by force, so even if you turn your life around, you may find yourself taking home a tiny piece of a big paycheck. Welcome to sharecropping.

I know someone who has a 16-year-old debt which amounts to at least $190,000. I don’t think it could have been more than $100,000 to start with. And this is someone who had the money to pay. Go figure. Obama might as well hogtie and brand this individual, because until that money rolls in, this person is a slave.

The only good thing about the SWAT story is that the victim may have a lawsuit which will turn his six hours of captivity into a nice retirement account. Meanwhile, his ex may be in for some interesting times.

It’s encouraging to see the government making a serious effort to get our money back. That much, I will give them. I didn’t think they were trying very hard.

I no longer believe in borrowing. I’ve done some dumb things. I bought $1500 speakers with loan money. But I now believe that borrowing is a good way to curse yourself. Even mortgages and car loans. We have gotten so used to buying things we can’t afford, we think it’s normal. I disagree. Like the Bible says, “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.” It also says the borrower is the servant of the lender. If you owe money on your house and car, they’re not yours, no matter how you spin it. Someone else has the power to take them away if you falter. Then where are you?

It’s a lot harder to take what you have when you own it outright. And you won’t find yourself forced to do things you don’t believe in, just to keep the payments up. A man who has a stack of loans is a target for temptation and coercion, just like a politician with dirt in his past. If you’re not in that situation, you are truly blessed.

I always wonder what our streets and parking lots would look like if all the cars that weren’t paid for disappeared.

Christianity is largely about short-term pain in exchange for long-term gain. Debt works the other way around. In Christianity, you give this life to God, and after seventy or a hundred years you get a magnificent, lasting reward. When you borrow, you usually get a car or a crappy stereo or some other trinket that loses value, and you pay much more than it’s worth. You get something better than you deserve, and you get it fast, but it doesn’t last, and you end up worse off in the end.

Christianity is amazing. It frees you from scratching to make this life as good as it can be. If you don’t believe, what is life? Childhood and adolescence are somewhat unpleasant, and during these years, you probably won’t have freedom, success, or wealth. Then you hit your twenties, which are supposed to be the best time of your life. You’re healthy. You look good. You feel good. But you don’t have much by middle-aged standards, and older people boss you around. If you’re really lucky, you have money and other trappings of success by the time you hit 30. If you’re a woman, that gives you about five years to enjoy them before you fall out of the first tier of physical beauty, and you have to get very busy burdening yourself with kids. If you’re a man, you don’t have to worry about that stuff, but you’re still aging.

By 45, you’re over the hill, especially if you’re female. Now it’s time to worry about retirement. But you probably won’t save enough. At this point, you feel like you’re a success on the downhill slope to grey hair and wrinkles, or you feel like you’re a failure who no longer has a chance to make it. If you’re on top, you want to stay there, but time will not leave you alone. Even Madonna, with all her money, can turn into an old woman kids don’t admire any more. Botox, fetal stem cells, collagen, and plastic surgery can’t keep you young.

When old age hits you, it’s time to look at what you have and what you’ve done and decide whether it meant anything. Maybe you have money, but you’re going to die, and your money is going to stay here. Maybe you’ve accomplished a lot in your career, but your career can’t follow you to the grave.

The other day I was flipping channels, and I saw a listing for Teen Wolf. And I couldn’t help thinking how absurd it was, to see yourself as a success because you’ve been in movies. We admire and worship movie stars. But…Teen Wolf? Come on. Is that a legacy? When you think about it, all movies are stupid. Actors stand around playing make-believe, just like kids in a playground. Try it sometime, if you’ve never acted. Read a scene with your friends. You feel silly, right? This is what John Wayne did every day, and we think he’s wonderful. Could anything be more ridiculous? Is that any way to spend a life? And I emphasize the word “spend.”

If you live by the world’s rules, age is your enemy. It takes the things you value. It robs you of looks, health, and social relevance. It takes away your career. It takes away the things you enjoy.

What if you’re a Christian who walks by faith? Different story. Suddenly age is wealth. Your life is measured in eons, not years, so no matter how you see yourself, you are extremely young and full of potential. You’re just getting started. And the things you do have lasting value. God will guide you and help you do things that have lasting impact. You’ll even be able to help people enter paradise, where they’ll be your friends for eternity.

Instead of seeing earthly success as important and having great respect for earthly institutions, you’ll start to see the earth as what it is: a silly, corrupt place where things don’t work the way they should. A planet in a disease state. Not a good place to spend a long time. Not a place you’d want to retire to. The older you get, the closer you are to getting off this wretched rock. If a Muslim beheads you, great. Your sentence is finally over. No more wrinkles. No more joint pains. No more reading glasses. You’ll never get a cold again. You’ll never crack your toe on a piece of furniture. You’ll never worry about where the rent is coming from. Really, you should thank the person who martyrs you.

Christians are basically God’s Peace Corps volunteers, except for one big difference: God’s Peace Corps works, while the world’s Peace Corps tends to send idealistic kids to foreign countries where they find that everyone thinks they’re CIA (because a lot of them are), and the locals expect you do do all the work. Which kind of explains why they need the Peace Corps. You get seven different kinds of bleeding diarrhea, and if you’re lucky, you dig a couple of wells that get filled in by Marxist guerillas the day after you leave. Hooray.

Anyway, God suffers us to remain in this awful place so we can rescue others and bedevil the ruler of this world. God makes things more pleasant and rewarding for us while we’re here, if we really know him and submit to him, but this isn’t what he wants for us in the long term. He can’t wait to bring us home, like soldiers returning from a filthy, bloody war. After all, this IS a war. It’s THE war; all others are imitations.

We return home in boxes, and that’s unfortunate, but it beats staying here.

The older you get, the closer you are to parole, and you’re racking up credits in heaven. You’re filling your retirement account. The Bible makes it clear that what we get in heaven depends on what we do here; we’re not all going to have the same rewards.

You’re also growing to be more like Christ. Your supernatural power–the gifts of the Spirit–is increasing. Your good character–the fruit of the Spirit–is improving. By earth’s standards, you stop growing and start dying when you’re about 20. In God’s kingdom, you haven’t even hit puberty yet. You’re going to get better and better and better.

My life keeps getting better. People jab me about my age, and I don’t care at all. You can have this world. I don’t want it. Get yourself botoxed up and let the good times roll while they may. You’ll still end up in a nursing home, and everyone will think you’re irrelevant, annoying, and superfluous. I have a better destination, and I’ll have a better time during the trip.

No wonder so many martyrs were happy to die. The more they became like God, the more disgusted they must have become with this place. I enjoy life tremendously, but I don’t want to spend the rest of it HERE. Please. When the time comes, please airlift me out of this dump.

You’re not going to see me do any heavy borrowing any time soon. I want my rewards in front of me and my work behind me, not the other way around.

Make a Joyful Noise

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Get Knock on Door From Joyful Cops

Here’s what I got so far:

I had a lot of fun making tube socket holes in 3/16″ aluminum. I had to use a 1 3/16″ hole saw for the big tubes and a 3/4″ Forstner bit for the small ones. I should buy stock in WD40; I used so much to keep the bits from binding.

The stuff on top will be held down with wood screws. There is no need for nuts when the metal is this thick.

This is extremely cool. Can’t wait to turn it on.

Where Your Treasure is, There Your Heart Will be Also

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Priorities of San Franciscans as Revealing as Their Protest Attire

A long time ago, Aaron used to tell me Israel and the Jews got a bad deal from the press. I thought he was nuts, but gradually I started to notice the press’s increasing hostility, and eventually, the crescendo became impossible to ignore. And since the press is the mouth of liberalism, I realized that the left, generally, is against the Jews.

Most Jews have not figured this out yet, which is amazing. I will never forget the sand-aspirating ostrich who told a reporter he voted for Kerry because he thought he would be better for Israel. If you can believe a thing like that, you are beyond hope. Whatever your objections to Bush may have been, he was on the pro-Israel side of the American political spectrum, and Kerry would have been much worse.

Today, via Sondra, I heard about the new Jew-hating comic, Foreskin Man. No, you are not dreaming. Regrettably.

Many people in San Francisco worship the principle male organ of reproduction, so it is not surprising that they are trying to ban circumcision. To them, circumcision amounts to defacing an idol. Foreskin Man is a cartoon hero who goes around battling–see for yourself–evil Jews.

You’re not supposed to circumcise it, but it’s okay to split it down the middle and put rings and chains in it, or to cut it off entirely and turn yourself into a grotesque, farcical, pitiable imitation of a woman. I’m not sure what the logic is, but that’s how it works out.

I emailed Aaron about this, and he made a reference to Julius Streicher. I had to Google. Streicher was a newspaper publisher in Germany. He published many of the famous Nazi-era photos and cartoons disparaging Jews. You have probably seen the big-nosed, sweaty, leering caricatures. If you look at Foreskin Man artwork, you will see that Streicher’s work is being continued.

In America. In 2011. In a major city. Among people who consider themselves socially enlightened. Openly.

The hero himself is an Aryan paragon. Tall, lean, heavily muscled, blond, and blue-eyed. He looks like Dolph Lundgren’s kid brother. He’s basically a gay hearththrob. So what we have is a perverse merger of Nazi propaganda and homoerotic art. If we can just work the green movement, unlimited abortion rights, and gun control in there, the picture will be nearly complete.

The obvious question here is why it’s okay to sever a baby’s spine with scissors and then suck his brain out, when it’s a crime to remove a piece of skin from his penis in observance of your Constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion.

In other news, an eco-nut in Australia is seriously suggesting forcing global-warming skeptics to accept arm tattoos labeling them as unbelievers. That kind of makes sense. Heidi Cullen of The Weather Channel had her own Krystallnacht moment a few years back, when she suggested rescinding the accreditations of climate professionals who questioned the scientific conclusions of divinity school failure and law school dropout Al Gore. We are talking about “progressives” here, and progressives progress. First we go after your livelihood. Then we put tattoos on you. Next thing you know, your skin is a lampshade in Bill Maher’s study.

The gloves are coming off. In a few years, anti-Semitism is going to be fashionable. It’s already fashionable on the left, especially among self-hating Jews, but it will eventually spread to the rest of us as cowardly anti-Semites look around and see that it’s safe to emerge. And because Spirit-filled conservative Christians support the Jews, we will be in the same boat. And like the St. Louis, it’s not going to find a safe port.

Christians who believe in the Rapture generally think it’s going to be a magical event where we just disappear. Not me. I think we’ll be massacred along with a lot of Jews. Our heads will lie in the gutters next to each other while naked and pierced progressives hoot with satisfaction and engage in various creative and unimaginable types of celebratory fornication. Tell me I’m a kook; then go look at photos of what’s already happening in San Francisco. Naked protesters lining the streets and sodomizing each other on the sidewalks? They call that “Thursday.”

In God’s temple, animals were slaughtered and bled, and the priests read from scrolls made from their skins. In Nazi camps, Jews and other enemies of the Reich were slaughtered, and their skins were tattooed with filthy cartoons. Satan loves parody, since he’s not orignal enough to come up with anything new. We’ll be seeing these things again in the future. The birth pangs of the Antichrist are well underway.

Completing the Circuit

Monday, June 6th, 2011

God’s Voltage Will Find a Path Around Man’s Resistance

All sorts of stuff is going on.

For like two years, I’ve been trying to get friends and my sister to pray in tongues. Back in the Eighties, I started to feel sure that this was the key to spiritual growth, and my experience since then has confirmed it. I believe the Holy Spirit is the nervous system (the “Force”) of the Body of Christ, and without it, we will always be ineffectual and self-defeating, so I try to get people to build the Holy Spirit’s influence inside them by praying in tongues.

People I know are starting to listen. They get timers, and they make sure they pray in tongues every day. They come back to me changed. I feel like I have help now. I don’t have to be the lonely voice of tongues. If I drop dead, they’ll keep going and multiplying and growing.

It’s like The Matrix, in reverse. We’re the agents, and we’re the good guys. That little surveillance kit an agent wears, with the plug in the ear? That represents the Holy Spirit, connecting us to our guiding power. We submit. We listen. We are in agreement. We act as one. Neo? That’s the guy who thinks he’s special. He thinks he can do it without God. He believes he knows better. Basically, he’s the Antichrist.

Remember how Agent Smith touched people and turned them into clones of himself? That’s what Jesus bought us on the cross. On Pentecost, he came down and sent the Holy Spirit through the Upper Room, turning 120 people into his younger brothers and sisters and enabling them to grow to be like him. Now we can lay hands on people, quite literally the same way Agent Smith did, and we can give them this gift. This is what being “born again” really means.

People love their pride. They love to feel like they have special abilities no one else has. They love their narcissism. That’s why the image of Neo is so appealing. You put on a cool black coat and nifty black shades, and you load up with all sorts of sexy weapons, and you wade through the sheep who oppose you in ignorance. You slaughter them without remorse, because they’re part of the problem. If they were as hip as you, you wouldn’t have to shoot them, but they’re just not cool, so down they go.

That’s pretty much how Satan works. He didn’t like God’s plan. He figured he could do better. He was beautiful and smart and strong. He was persuasive. He was aggressive and self-confident. Today we would call him “empowered” and “centered.” He didn’t care about the little foolish people who weren’t very bright or very strong and who therefore had to depend on God. He was all about the special ones. The elite. He was Morpheus.

God is not like that. He isn’t a modern model of self-aggrandizing cockiness. He is humble. The Bible says, “Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly, but the proud he knoweth afar off.” God doesn’t look for cool people who have it together, so he can let them do him the favor of applying their amazing gifts in his service. He looks for the weak and the grateful, so he can build them up to fight with HIS gifts. He uses foolish things to confound the wise. His strength is made perfect–“perfect” means “complete”–in our weakness.

So now my prayer group is spreading the infection. And I know there are other carriers all over the place, doing the same thing, even if they don’t talk much about it in church.

Pastors and teachers tend to underestimate the importance of tongues. Most flat-out deny the power of tongues. Many slander the Holy Spirit, saying tongues are demonic. That’s fine. The Holy Spirit doesn’t have to speak from the pulpit. He can speak in the parking lot or the men’s room. That’s what he does in my church. He’s like electricity. He finds a path of low resistance, and he takes it.

Why didn’t God make this happen 2000 years ago? The simple answer: he did. But the church listened to Satan, as it always does. Satan told our leaders hard work was what mattered. It was WRONG to expect God to change people simply because they prayed words they did not understand. It was SELFISH. You should EARN your favor with God!

Never mind the obvious hypocrisy. You can obtain salvation, which includes eternal life in health, joy, and wealth, by uttering a few words. But if you expect God to change you just because you pray in tongues every day for years, well…that’s just too easy! Does that make sense to you? I hope not. You would have to be stupid.

God does not force the world to work properly. He gives us the tools, and then he steps back. And we fail him, over and over. Adam failed him. The entire world failed him before the flood. The Jews failed him in Egypt and in the wilderness. Christians failed him, even after he gave them easy salvation and the gift of tongues. God let these things happen. He did that because making the world work is our responsibility, not his. His kingdom is not of this world. This world is supposed to be our kingdom.

Every once in a while, God returns and gives us what amounts to a bath. He cleans us up and puts us back on the path. He gives us knowledge our ancestors should have held onto and passed on to us (“A good [man] leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children). Then he steps back again. Over the last century or so, he has been pouring the Holy Spirit into us like a French farmer force-feeding a pate goose. The Holy Spirit is back. We have another chance. And we’ll eventually blow it. Meanwhile, we can do a lot of damage to Satan’s kingdom.

This weekend, our pastor taught about the prayer of victory. I was afraid he was going to pass on something Steve Munsey came up with. I was afraid we would hear that we were supposed to give a huge monetary offering in exchange for a super Pentecost dose of the Holy Spirit. That didn’t happen. Instead, at the altar call, he said he wanted people to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit…en masse! It was wonderful. It was beautiful. This is exactly what my little group prays for! This is what changes lives. God armed a bunch of new recruits. We don’t have to feel so outnumbered now. I hope we see more and more of this. I don’t want to see my pastor do things that aren’t going to bring him a fit reward for a lifetime of service.

We have a conference coming up, on South Beach. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it. Sometimes we do things that make me very uncomfortable, in order to attract kids. But we got this big Holy Ghost blast this weekend, and the conference is taking place on Pentecost. Now I’m a little excited. Maybe God is in this after all.

I feel like there is more hope for my church than I realized.

I’ve learned some discouraging things since I’ve been there. We have a pattern of taking qualified people out of positions of power and putting them to work as beasts of burden. I’m a cook, a writer, a lawyer, and a physicist, but I can’t cook, write, or practice law for the church. I wander around doing security jobs. We have one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen, but his service consists mostly of cooking in the cafe and playing for kids. We have a guy who went to college on a vocal scholarship, and he was removed from the worship team and required to teach small children. I could go on and on. We put less-qualified people in charge, and we waste the talented people God sent us. It’s like the Body of Christ is walking on its hands, eating through its ears, writing with its feet, and so on. It’s so bad, I quit giving things to the church, because I know they’ll be wasted. I give to other organizations that do a better job. But now I have hope that the Holy Spirit will be allowed to put things back in order. This is the power that puts flesh on the “dry bones” and puts them back together in an organized body.

We listen to Australian music in my church. This stuff is really…it’s not good. The musicians are not overjoyed about it. If you gave me all of it in CD form, it would be in the trash in ten minutes, because there is no way I’d ever listen to it. Think of every bad thing the word “white” means when you apply it to music, and that’s Australian worship music. And the lyrics are, well, I’m not going to use the word that came to mind, but they’re…if I wrote lyrics like this, I would seriously wonder if I had any business writing lyrics at all.

Meanwhile, the church is about 80% black. It’s an American church. America has the best popular music in the entire world. We created gospel. We created the blues. We created jazz. We invented soul. Isn’t this obvious? Do I even have to mention Mahalia Jackson, Rosetta Tharpe, Ray Charles, the Stanley Brothers, Kari Jobe…even Hank Williams wrote church music. Importing music from Australia is like importing chefs from England or comedians from Germany. It’s almost an insult to American culture. Would you export watches to Switzerland?

We had a guy come in and sing a couple of bluesy numbers a while back, and people went nuts. It was like they were starving.

We have unbelievable musicians. They’re dying to write and perform real music. But they don’t get the chance. I’m encouraging them to come to my house to work on their own stuff. My church won’t accept the blessing, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do what they were born to do. I told one of them they should get together and start playing at other churches. Do what God does. If one person rejects a blessing, give it to someone else. You can’t ruin your life by wasting time doing things God did not create you to do. Consider Psalm 37, verse 4. Your natural gifts and desires are not what make you a good Christian, but God does provide them for a reason, and they are not to be ignored.

I quit giving extra money to my church. I found other organizations that made better use of what I had to offer. I quit working in the church kitchen. Now I’m building amplifiers, and I hope to be able to help Christian musicians get good equipment. I was rejected as a writer, which is really beyond belief, considering what I can do and how limited the church’s other writing resources are. We have no other writers of any consequence. Now I either write here, or I do something more productive with my time. If you are bearing God’s fruit in your life, YOU HAVE TO DROP IT SOMEWHERE. You can’t wait around while the people you want to bless give you the straightarm and treat you like a burglar. I just can’t do anything for this church except pray and help with security. So be it. Until they come around, I’ll do for someone else.

Honest to God, I feel like renting a warehouse for these kids. I want to say, “Just go in there and PLAY, and don’t come out until you have ten good songs, and if anyone who even looks Australian shows up, bar the door.”

This has to be how God feels. He has so much good stuff waiting for us, but we choose our own hog wallows. We die in the desert instead of crossing over into the Promised Land. I remember how sad Jesus was when he talked about the things he wanted to do for Jerusalem.

If the revival continues, we should be able to get things in order. If not, I will continue to bless and be blessed, and the good things that come through me will go somewhere else. A current has to find ground. It will not be stopped. I am not going to let human beings thwart God himself. Jesus had to go to the Gentiles in order to bless people; I’m no better than he is.

The amp-building goes well. My only problem is that I’m learning so fast, I can’t finish my latest amp. Every time I think I’m ready to put it together, I learn something that makes me want to change it. But I may be able to get started soldering this afternoon.

I am going to have to go back over some mathematical foundations. Monkey-see, monkey-do is not going to make me an amp expert. I need to know how to calculate impedances and so on. I don’t think any of the math will be challenging at all, but the material will be fairly dry, so it will take effort to swallow it.

Life is beautiful. I hope I can help other people get on the same train. It looks like God is giving me success. In the meantime, I do not intend to let God’s work in my own life go to waste, regardless of who gets in the way. I am too old to put up with nonsense.

Notice: No “Stairway to Heaven”

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

My Loss is Heaven’s “Gain”

I guess I should post an update on my amplifier.

I decided to make a Fender Bassman clone. I got all the parts except for the chassis. A new Chinese chassis which doesn’t look too good runs something like $50 plus shipping, and I thought that was stupid. If I’m going to shell out that kind of cash for a piece of bent metal, the quality should be good.

Naturally, I decided to do things the hard way.

Here are the pieces of surplus structural aluminum I bought. Two are 4″ square tubing with 1/8″ walls. The third–this is really cool–is 6″ Aluminum Association channel. “Aluminum Association” means the walls are not tapered. The inner surfaces are parallel to the outer surfaces. This makes it easier to mount stuff in the channel.

The tubing is thin and easy to work with. The channel is very thick, and it poses a lot of problems.

Naturally, I decided to do things the hard way.

I’ll put that on my tombstone.

I am using the channel, with the long side up. The transformers and choke will be mounted above it. Actually, the power transformer is sunk into it, because that’s how you mount them. But most of it is up top.

Here is the tube layout I’m considering. The rectifier is hidden away from the other tubes, and the 12AY7 (the most sensitive preamp tube) is way down there by itself, far from the noise. I hope. Someone pointed out that using a triangular layout may make it difficult to wire the circuit board, but it’s so cute, I think I’m willing to put up with that.

The eyelet board, which I have not made, will be under it. The knobs and stuff will go through the front wall. The whole thing will sit in a wooden cabinet which I have not built yet.

This thing is monstrously rigid. If I mount it in 3/4″ plywood, it will be like a Sherman tank with input jacks. It weighs around 6.5 pounds, contrasted with roughly 3.5 for the tubing.

I don’t care about the weight. This is a head, not a combo. It won’t have a ton of speaker attached to it. If it weighs 15 pounds instead of 12, who cares?

I was able to trim it to an accurate size using the table saw. You have to love that.

I have to figure out how to polish the aluminum on the front and top. I considered using a fly cutter on the top, but my vise is like 6″ wide, and this thing is 20″ long. I don’t know if the vise will hold it firmly enough for fly-cutting. I may end up using an orbital sander.

You may be asking yourself (if you’re still here) why I’m making a head. Simple. I want to make one amp every month. If I put speakers in all of them, it will cost $900,000 a year, and they won’t be all that portable. If I use a couple of interchangeable cabinets, I’ll save a lot of cash and work, and I’ll be able to take my heads around and play them through my 1 x 12 cabinet.

By the way, here it is, all finished. Or at least it WILL be here, as soon as my camera’s battery charges. I might add a few more touches, but this is basically it. I chose not to cover the cheesy sign paint. I thought that added an extra layer of testosterone or something. The edges are all radiused, and it has big rubber feet. It’s very stiff. You can sit on it all day. By using variable-output power transformers, I’ll be making heads that can be played through this high impedance with no problems. This sure beats carrying a 4 x 10 combo every time I want to use the amp.

The channel is causing new problems every day. Last night I realized I may have problems with the potentiometers, because the metal is so thick. The shafts have to go through it. I may have to order new pots. The other answer is to mill down the front face. I would have to do this from inside the channel in order to avoid it looking like an abortion. Another option: Forstner bits and an angled drill, to make small cavities for the pots to sit in. And of course, I have no angled drill. Yet.

I think I can mill the front down using a straight end mill and holding the channel on its back in my vise. I only need about 1.5″ of thin area. It might work. Depends on how much the aluminum likes being milled that way. It may flex around and drive me crazy.

I’m going to need legend plates. I don’t want to make a nice amp and then use a P-Touch for the labels. I need to find a local place that makes the plates cheap. Prices on the web are completely mental.

I got some neat videos to help me along. A guy named Gerald Weber has a video on understanding tube amps, and he also has one on servicing and maintaining them. I’m still burrowing through the first one. It’s helping me understand what I’m working on. Some of the things he says about electronics are a little dubious, but maybe that means he learned by doing instead of learning by watching someone scrawl on a chalkboard.

In case you doubt his wisdom, here is a video that proves he’s a real pro:

My buddy from church initially wanted me to help him with a Super Reverb clone, but now he’s talking about a Dumble Steel String Singer. Unfortunately, Mr. Dumble pours epoxy into his amps to hide the circuitry and prevent people from determining exactly how much unicorn poop he puts in there, so there aren’t a whole lot of schematics out there.

He has also been talking about building a Bassman AND a Super Reverb and using them together, like this Youtube guy. I can’t argue. They sound great.

I’m also fantasizing about building a Herzog. This is the effect used in the original “American Woman.” Turns a guitar into an organ. Pedals make this sound now, but I don’t know whether they do it well. In case you care, it turns out a Herzog is just a Fender Champ rigged up so it won’t blow up your main amp when you use it as an effect.

I can’t believe I’m getting to do all this stuff. Finally the torture I inflicted on myself by getting a physics degree is paying off. Sort of. Anyway, Psalms 37:4.

The guitar playing is going well, but the amps are taking time away from it. That’s why I want to get this thing DONE. I love my cheap Epiphone Riviera P93 more every day; I still can’t believe it turned out to be so great. On the day when I bought it, I seriously felt as though the Holy Spirit told me to go to Guitar Center and pick it up, so I made a left turn and did it. When I bought it, it had shortcomings. The pickups were pretty lame, and the tone capacitor was not right. Now it’s a monster. Great tone and super-low buzz-free action. And the size and weight make it stable for fast picking.

I play mostly through my homemade Firefly amp now. The sound level is perfect. I adjusted the tone using a new capacitor, and it worked out very well. I still have oscillation when I use the gain circuit. I have to fix that.

I picked up a Blues Driver. Very nice pedal. I gravitate toward the Blues Driver, Plimsoul, and Fat Sandwich more than my other two pedals.

That’s how things stand at the moment. Updates will be posted when I feel like it.