System Back-ups

In entry My Mac Let Me Down (Sort of), I talked about a hard drive crash on my PowerBook G4. It has taken me months, with no good excuse, to “report on my progress” and share some ideas.

As I stated in the previous blog on the subject, I do regular back-ups. I did not regularly back-up my applications (added programs), but I did know my short-list of “must have” additional applications, so it was not a problem to reinstall them. And anything I forgot would be remembered when I tried to use it. And anything else, I did not realy “need.”

That scheme proved to work very well. I asked for other ideas. Here’s a few thoughts from my friend David Strom.
I save all of my data into a folder for a particular year, I guess that is how I think of what I create. Anything that persists from year to year, like my QuickBooks, I just move it to the new year’s folder. Or I have it online.

Having two HDDs makes it easier to duplicate everything with SuperDuper!” [The ‘!’ is part of the product name.] This way I have two bootable drives, in case of failure of one of them. Run the pgm every day or other day, depending on how often your content changes. In my case, not much changes and it takes maybe 10 mins to do an incremental backup. SuperDuper! can be set to just do the increments.

Then once a week I do a backup of the current year’s data to a CD-R. I don’t need much more than that, but you might.

Then once every 60 days or so I bring up the external drive from my basement and do an incremental on SuperDuper!, again, so I have a bootable drive that is in another location.

My most important data is my contacts list and I maintain that on Gmail in two different accounts. Still working on getting that backed up. Gmail has very primitive tools for contacts backup.

Thanks, David.

Okay, so some of you are thinking “Wow. David is really, really paranoid.” (Or you are thinking something less polite.) But, if you have ever lost precious photos, critical emails, or irreplaceable files of any kind, you have some kind of sense that some back-up scheme is necessary. I’ve not yet done everything David does. I’ve started by using an external firewire drive with SuperDuper!. Every once in a while when I remember (!) I dump all my photos to a DVD-R and put them in my safe deposit box. I’d back-up to one of my Internet servers, but need to come up with a plan to do this gradually.

I do not have an automated process. I have to remember to do this. I do remember, though. I plug my Lacie firewire drive in and turn it on. The partitions on this portable drive show up. Each partition is 60G—each large enough to hold all the information on my 60G boot drive. I configured each to be bootable. (Actually, one of the four partitions is slightly smaller. I named this “Archive” and to it I manually copy things I don’t need to regularly back-up.For example, I have my photo archive there. I created it from iPhoto as another Library. I may someday do something similar for iTunes.) I then run SuperDuper! in “incremental back-up” mode, which they call “Smart Update.” Interesting (I think) side note. Someone at work (JHU APL) had a similar disk problem as I described in this entry. She lost some things she wished she hadn’t. Back-ups? Never. I asked around. Mostly it was guys that did back-ups and women that did not. (Of course, APL systems are backed-up by the IT department over the network on a regular basis; I am talking about home systems.)

So, I (almost) daily back up my entire disk using SuperDuper!. I switch between using two different partitions. A third I will use on which to install Leopard. Eventually. (SuperDuper! does not yet work with Leopard.) I am seriously thinking of backing up over the Internet next. Somehow. But, automatically.

Here are a couple of Mac-specific items I found in my searching.
My own personal “Mac Genius”—because he’s a friend—Kevin Long told me how he backs-up.
My backup needs are satisfied by Leopard’s Time Machine (which is as slick as the rumors claim) and .mac. Time Machine does incremental backups every hour. The initial sync takes a long time, as you might expect, but subsequent syncs have occurred without my noticing. (In fact, I’ve checked the Time Machine System Preference to make sure they’ve taken place.) Large, frequently-modified files like Entourage’s database are probably the biggest “problem” for Time Machine as it’s probably backed up during each Time Machine session. Luckily, you can choose to not back up some files via the Time Machine interface; I’d probably add the Entourage database to that list and rsync it on a regular basis instead.

For redundant backup (which includes my Yojimbo database), I also utilize .mac’s Sync application, which syncs my most important information across all my Macs and a .mac server somewhere. I also use Sync to schedule backups of larger, infrequently-accessed files like photos to CD or DVD. /blockquote>Thanks, Kevin. I suspect I’ll move to using “Time Machine” when I install Leopard.


“Many Retailers Open to Wireless Attacks”

Shocking, but true!

Okay, so what was the date of this headline? It could have been 2002, as Lisa Rein comments on some now-gone-missing Informit column in her June 29, 2002 blog entry. Or May 2004, as this article gives the same warning two years later. Or, maybe a year after that in 2005, like this from IT Week.

It was November 15, 2007. (See Darkreading.)

Same old stuff. But, wait. Maybe something new here, Buffer Overflows Are Top Threat, Report Says. Hmmm. Nope. The threat and mitigation suggestions are all over the Internet, for example You can use Google as well as I, I expect.


“I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.”

Yes, I am old and some of you will not remember HAL 9000, from 2001: A Space Odessy, but the older folks will remember that line.

I have 2 Linux boxes in the house. One is a new one that I use to stage my web site (and as my workstation when my PowerBook disappointed me for the first time (see My Mac Let Me Down (Sort of)). The other is built in an old (former) Gauntlet computer I bought from my excellent friend, Allen, and it is in the basement. I recently decided to shut it down. I am not using it and it is just using power. It has been up for 58 days since a power outage that lasted longer than the UPS battery. When the power came back, so did the basement Linux system.

I tried. It refuses to die. Observe.
# uptime
6:03pm up 58 days, 2:25, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
# shutdown -h now

Broadcast message from root (pts/0) (Thu Dec 6 18:28:41 2007):

The system is going down for system halt NOW!
idt=0xffffe000, Can’t find sys_call_table[]
Uh, oh. It won’t shutdown. I am going down to the basement in a few minutes. If I never blog again, well…
I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
Yeah. Right.


Irony in Advertising

I clicked on the Yahoo News item to view the new bin Laden video. Part of the written commentary mentioned that he dyed his beard from grey to black.

Before the video came up, an advertisement played. It was for Pantene hair coloring. You don’t suppose he uses …

Internet security moves towards good, old idea of default deny

We do keep going back to the same old (and) good ideas. Friend and colleague Marcus Ranum sent me a pointer to this CBC article entitled Internet security moving toward “white list”.

It reminded me of one of my blog entries from early 2005, Malware — the threat is real. It also reminded me that we forget history and so, as Edmund Burke George Santayana said, are destined to repeat it. (Or as Win Treese once said, “Not only is all human knowledge on USENET, it’s typed in every two weeks.”)


You Still Can’t Trust the Internet

I mean for accuracy, not for connectivity. A few years back, I blogged The Dilution of Truth on the Internet. Recently, I was looking for this quote from the movie “Animal House”:
Nothing is impossible for the man who refuses to listen to reason.
Now, it amazes me that this isn’t all over the Internet. I mean I think (yes, that is key) that is totally brilliant. But, when I looked in the Internet, I found this 1) quoted without attribution, 2) quoted from the movie “Animal House,” which is correct, and attributed to the character Bluto (which is incorrect—it was Otter), and attributed to Maynard G. Krebbs in the TV series “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” (Can anyone verify this? I remember Otter, I am old enough to remember Dobie and Maynard, but I don’t remember him saying this. But, I was very young.)

Anyway, who can you trust?


Martinis, #3

Never order a martini at a “cocktail reception” at a hotel. They are usually not set up for mixing cocktails. Stick to drinks on the rocks or with a mixer. I was hopeful at a recent reception. I saw good gin (Tanqueray) and I saw dry vermouth. So, I asked for a martini on the rocks. (They just do not have any way to properly mix cocktails.) He looked at me with a blank expression. I tried again. Then I said, “I tell you what. Put 3 ounces of this gin in a glass with some ice. Then splash in some of that vermouth there.”

“Oh,” he said to me, “that’s called a Manhattan.”

“Thanks,” I answered, taking my drink.

(Note to those who do not know. A Manhattan is made with whiskey, not gin, and sweet vermouth, not dry. Aside from that, they are identical … in that they are both served cold and in a glass.)

Two corrections. Not just “whiskey,” but rye whiskey (which is what I mean by “whiskey”). And a month or so I did retry asking and did get a real martini (albeit, in a wine glass, not a cocktail glass).


My Mac Let Me Down (Sort of)

This morning started out like any Saturday morning, for the most part. I got up a bit earlier than usual. Started coffee, read e-mail. Some piece of e-mail led me to a web browser. Then things started to go bad.

I got the Spinning Beach Ball of Death (SBBOD). I was able to move to other applications. But, I could not bring up the system monitor, though the performance meter I had running did not indicate a problem. The hard drive was making a noise I did not like. No, I cannot describe it. It was seeking far to much and making too much noise.

I power cycled it. No joy. It would not boot. I booted in option mode. I got an alternating folder icon with a question mark. Hmmm. To make a long story short, I took it over to the Apple Store in the Columbia (MD) Mall and talked to a David at the Genius Bar. I was hoping he could diagnose the problem at least, or fix it. He did diagnose it: failed hard drive or failed bridge controller. Either way, I needed to send it out for repair, so I signed the paperwork, gave a credit card (to pay the $310 charge—$100 labor for a PB G4 12″ + $210 flat rate repair charge for same). I should get it back in 7 to 10 days.

The good news: It was only $310; the last time I backed up my home directory was 3 days ago; my e-mail is on an IMAP server, so it is (was?) on my Mac and also on my server.

The bad news: I don’t back up my non-home files. Particularly, the Ultilities and Applications directories are not backed up. So, any applications I’ve added or system settings I’ve made will have to be reinstalled/remade. Ah, well. Not so very bad news.

I’ll report on my progress. For now I am using my Linux desktop on which all of my files were backed up.

Drop me e-mail if you have any back-up schemes you would like to share. I suppose I should automate the process and I should back up everything periodically, and I guess I’d better copy the back-up files from the Linux server to a DVD and put it in my safety deposit box. Any ideas?

I got my PowerBook back yesterday, Wednesday. I am restoring the contents of my original HDD. I will report more here later.


False Sense of Security

Some colleagues and I at APL were talking about the very old subject of the uselessness or dangers of a false sense of security. (See the sixth axiom at Security Axioms.) And today, Bruce Schneier’s Crypto-Gram Newsletter showed up in my mailbox. One of the many great references caught my eye, so after you check out the newsletter, click on the link for A Pilot on Airline Security. An interesting read. Which reminds me of another interesting read, and still relevant. Marcus Ranum’s The Myth of Homeland Security, which I reviewed here.


Radio Wave Scare Redux

This BBC News report, Wi-fi? Why worry?, talks about school (in Canada and in Chicago) banning Wi-fi because of fears of “the health impact of the 2.4Ghz radio waves used by wireless networks.” BBC News rightly reported that there is no heath concern and pointed out the obvious: “If the journalists were really concerned about the dangers of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on the sensitive brains of the young, they should be calling for the closure of TV and radio transmission towers rather than asking us to turn off our wi-fi laptops.”

I had to laugh. It reminded me of something humorist and monologist Jean Shepherd said in a 1965 radio broadcast. Shep said, “Do you know that in the early days of radio, everybody blamed everything that happened on radio. In other words, in 1923 or something—it’s a historical fact—when KDKA when on the air or the early radio stations, of course this was like magic to every body, it was fantastic, they could hear stuff right out of the air. And then they began to worry about what was in the air! ‘What are these guys sending out?’ And people were beginning to say all these words that were in the air were beginning to be—were rotting their brains.”

Technology is scary. People are scarier.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Just after keyboarding a blog entry today, Why Proper Security is Not a Reality, I read a post in my friend Dave Piscitello’s blog, which points to his article, Sad and Deplorable State of Internet Security, Revisited. It’s a good read. Can you guess what he and his Core Competance partner, Lisa Phifer decided?

Their article, by the way, shows some of the stats we love to see, which is the fifth of six reasons why I hate computer and network security. Anyway, a good article.

Why Proper Security is Not a Reality

Now, here is an interesting point.
From a practical standpoint the security problem will remain as long as manufacturers remain committed to current system architectures, produced without a firm requirement for security. As long as there is support for ad hoc fixes and security packages for these inadequate designs and as long as the illusory results of penetration teams are accepted as demonstrations of a computer system security, proper security will not be a reality.
But, wait! That’s from “Preliminary Notes on the Design of Secure Military Computer Systems,” presented by Roger Schell, USAF, in 1973! (I was a senior in high school. Some of you weren’t alive then.) We do keep talking about the same old stuff, one of my top 6 reasons that I hate computer and network security.

I found this quoted by spaf in a presentation from 2002. That presentation starts with a slide that states
First of all these are not new concerns. Some of us have been trying to warn people for decades. There is a body of established principles, largely ignored and a small population of practitioners. We know how to fix many of the problems without new research
Which is also another example of my thesis.

And the beat goes on. La-dee-da-dee-dee. La-dee-da-dee-da. (Yes, I’ve quoted those lyrics before in another blog, but repetition doesn’t seem to bother us, nor does it seem to be efficacious.)


Click here to install virus

The Fox news article, Hundreds of PC Users Click On ‘Click Here to Get Infected’ Ad brought back fond memories. Years and years and years ago (really), Bill Cheswick and I were talking about users and their tendancy to click on things. Bill suggested the image below and I created it and then used it in many classes and presentations when I had to 1) talk about the need for educating users as to what to do when presented with the unexpected and 2) their tendency to not even notice.

Vista Brings out the Passion in Users

Okay, so another former Windows-lover has moved to Mac after being “disappointed” by Vista. It’s an interesting read at TechnologyReview.com. I even posted a comment, Subject: Passion:
I never cease to be surprised, maybe amazed, at the passion worked up by OS zealots. Now, I am not dissing anyone; passion is not a *bad* thing. I switched almost a year ago. I’ve not regretted it once. But… they really are just computers. I won’t talk about what caused me to do it and what was “the last straw,” as they say. I discuss those things at… [with a pointer to this blog]
The artcle by Erika Jonietz is very interesting, especially what she thinks of Vista. The comments that follow are … just amazing.


Thoughts from a road trip with the radio blasting and the top down

Love is… Listening, with your daughter, to hours of Celine Dion on your iPod playing through the music system in your car on a multi-hour ride home. Wait… And singing along. Singing along and enjoying it. Singing along and enjoying it just because she’s your daughter and she loves Celine Dion.


‘Big Bang’ project put off to 2008

I read a Reuters’ story on CNN’s web site that CERN is using giant magnets in “First tests in a scientific project aimed at solving mysteries of the universe and the “Big Bang” which created it …”

Now, aside from the leap in faith in this science (they seem to know that the “Big Bang”—emphasis mine, capitalization theirs—caused all this, clever “Big Bang” that it was), I am a bit concerned. The article goes on to say, “Researchers on the project, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), say this will recreate in miniature the conditions which existed nanoseconds after the Big Bang some 15 billion years ago and should allow them to see what happened next.” See, I am more interested in what happened a minute or two before. I mean, what if it is the case that scientists in the previous universe were running just such an experiment? You see them all excited. “Okay. Steady. Ready to throw the switch in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and.”


The stores and guns you laid up for Y2K won’t help you with this one. 🙂

Peter Curran, dropped me this note:
The world was due to end on 26th November 2007 when the CERN LMC inadvertently triggered a black hole. I rejoiced in this prospect, because the event would increase sales of my book, ‘The Ancient Order of Moridura’, with a similar theme, but then I realised that I couldn’t collect my royalties because of the destruction of the planet. Life’s a bitch sometimes!

However, the end of the world is postponed for a year because of problems with magnets – we must wait until April or May of 2008 for extinction and translation into another brane.

The Higgs boson must be laughing quietly, wherever it is hiding in interstellar space.
See his blog entries here and here.


Radio Free Security

Driving into the lab this morning, I listened to an installment of Radio Free Security, from WatchGuard Technologies. I’m an episode behind. This one, Radio Free Security unveils the Tip-O-Matic 650, is well-produced and full of solid technical security information, as are all of the podcasts I have heard. It reminded me that I Hate Network- and Computer-Security

Let me be clear. This is no fault of the Radio Free Security podcast, which is superb. Some of the topics they touched on—while important—have been said over and over, year after year. A few of the tips from the Tip-O-Matic 650 (hey, guys, is that trademarked?):
  • Sometimes you should use reduced user rights
  • Egress filtering is a good thing
  • You should have a log strategy
In particular, these topics are examples of my reason #2, we talk about The same old stuff.

Now I am not saying that these things are not worth repeating. They are. I’m just tired of saying them. I said them here, and (in a column for WatchGuard) here, and in a paper I wrote for WatchGuard here. Also, I—and many, many others— have talked about these things, and continue to talk about them, in courses, talks, etc. Having said that, I must remind you that I said just a few paragraphs ago, this podcast is “well produced and full of solid technical security information.” And even though I’ve heard this particular stuff before, I enjoyed the podcast and will stay subscribed. Even if just for the installments of “IT Fantasy Help Desk: Calls that you will never get.”

You can listen to it via an RSS news reader by going to www.watchguard.com/rss/watchguardrfs.xml. You can also subscribe to it via the iTunes store. Type “radio free security” in the search field. And enjoy.


Still Empty After All These Years: Holy Trinity Breathes Sigh of Relief

Jesus tomb film scholars backtrack. God the Father, Son, and Spirit issued a joint statement saying, “Whew. That was a close one.” The Jerusalem Post article by Etgar Lefkivits ends with this statement.
According to the New Testament, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion, and an ossuary containing Jesus’s bones – the explanations of the movie director notwithstanding – would contradict the core Christian belief that he was resurrected and then ascended to heaven.
This agrees with what Saul of Tarsus, renamed Paul, wrote in the first century, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” Christianity stands on an historic event. The tomb was empty.

(And, actually, this is more like what the Trinity had to say: “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” Psalms 2:4)


Information Assurance

I work in the information assurance area at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. I am a senior IA professional.

When did network and computer security become “information assurance,” and why? I do understand that the idea of “information assurance” (IA) sounds broader than “computer and network security,” but is it really? The “I” in “IA” is broader, but practically IA addresses information on computers and networks, not information residing in file cabinets or on bookshelves.

Why and when did this change?

Bobby Miller wrote, “I’ve been in the field since 1978 – get used to terminology changes! Way back when, it was ADP security, then computer security, then information security, now information assurance. I have no doubt it will change again and again. I suspect the reason has to do with Government regulation and/or funding – when you change the name you’re probably more likely to get new money to do the same old stuff.”


Slide Presentation Behavior

There are many ways to tell amateurs from the pros. When traveling to a 5-day conference, the pro does not check bags. When watching someone give a briefing (and see, here is an area where my language has changed working at APL. Formerly, I’d have said “give a slide presentation” or “give a talk.”), the amateur points the wireless mouse at the screen, rather than at the computer with the receiver.


Another Windows Expert Moves to Mac

If you came here because you are thinking of making the move, you’ll find my experiences and opinions here. I recently started a full-time gig at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. They started to order a PC for me. I asked if I could have a Mac. I have a 17″ MacBook Pro.

Here’s the interesting experiences of another convert. He’s a well-known “Windows Expert.” See A Windows expert opts for a Mac life.


I Just Thought This Was Funny

Surely you’ve seen at least one of the “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” ads. Well, this photo just hit my funny bone:


On Acting Like a Jerk

  • Just because someone is a Christian, doesn’t mean he won’t sometimes or often act like a jerk.
  • That goes double for me.
Romans 7:15-17.


Five Words

At the Ministry Fair

Across the bustle of the Ministry Fair in the Fellowship Hall I saw him. The young man—I’ll call him Roger—looked like he was about to cry or had been crying. I walked over to him and asked, “Do you want to talk?”

Tearing up a bit, he breathed deeply and nodded. I led him out to a quiet area near the classrooms. “What’s doing?” And he told me…

Groundwork of Loving and Knowing

First, to understand why he would have nodded assent, we need to back up a bit. He was willing to talk to me because I had spent a breakfast with him talking about questions of denominational difference and theology that he had after being with some friends at the recent Franklin Graham Festival. Backing up further, the reason his parents suggested he talk to me about them was not just because I am an elder in the church, but more because I had shown an interest in him in a very simple way.

Months earlier, during fellowship time between services, I noticed Roger, a teenager I’d known since he was in my 3-year-old Sunday School class. I noticed a brace on his leg, and asked him about it. He told me of a stress fracture that wasn’t healing and I saw something else in his eyes. “So, how are you doing with this?” Getting somewhat somber, he admitted, “Not very well.” He went on to talk of his love of soccer. This was going to take him out, for perhaps the whole season. We talked a bit more, and asked him if he wanted the elders to pray for and anoint him. He’d not heard of that, but he agreed. Then I asked if I could, and then did, pray for him.

Months later, at his request and the suggestion of his parents, came the “theological discussion.” I answered his questions, but explored his thoughts on the subject, with questions, such as, “What do you think the Bible says about that?” and, “How did you feel when they said that their youth leader could pray over you and tell you your spiritual gifts?” (The insightful answer: “How could he without even taking time to know anything about me?”) He also told me, briefly, of a girl he had been seeing, but who recently was treating him poorly.

Outside the Fellowship Hall

This brings us back to the conversation outside the Fellowship Hall. He was having a great deal of trouble at worship. He had broken up with the girl he mentioned. He used to worship with her and pray with her. She was out of his life, and he was miserable. Worship was a trial, a chore, because it reminded him too much of her and the loss.

We talked some more. That morning, in worship, we had sung “Blessed Be Your Name”—Matt Redman’s version. We talked about the biblical truths in it. We agreed that we need to sing the song “In the land that is plentiful, Where Your streams of abundance flow,” and “When the world’s ‘all as it should be’,” so that we can remember when we’re “found in the desert place,” when we “walk through the wilderness,” “On the road marked with suffering, Though there’s pain in the offering.” We used that song, sung earlier that morning, to remind us of what we know is true. And it gave him something solid on which to stand and rest.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

In the Gospel of John, chapter 10, we read these words of Jesus:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. [John 10: 11. 14-15 (ESV)]
We in the Church, especially those of us called to be shepherds (including counselors, and—of course—pastors), must surely look to this passage, maybe chief among others, for clues about what it means to be a shepherd. [Jesus did not say I am the Good King, I am the Good Prophet, I am the Good Priest, though he was all of those.] A shepherd lays down his life. A shepherd knows his sheep. A shepherd is known by the sheep. If we are to shepherd—to rule by shepherding, lead by shepherding, oversee by shepherding—we must lay down our lives for the sheep. We must know our sheep and be known.

Likewise, if we are to be members of Christ’s church as He commands—to serve one another, to love one another, to submit to one another, to care for one another, to be kind to one another, to teach, encourage, and admonish one another, to stir up one another to love and good works, and to confess sins to and pray for one another—we really do need to know one another.

Loving and Knowing, to Speaking and Doing

I did nothing extraordinary in this young man’s life. I took time to notice him. Truly, it was hard not to: there was a brace on his leg. I took the time to ask a good (an obvious!) question. I observed his response and asked another question or two, because I cared. And I acted (setting up a time for anointing, setting up further meetings). It only took a few minutes, but it did require me to actually see him and stop. Later, when we met, I was not satisfied with just giving him my answers to his questions. We talked. I asked questions. I got to know him better. Finally (actually, there is probably no “finally” about it), I saw him that day in the fellowship hall, and I asked a five-worded question that is apparently not asked enough.

“Do You Want to Talk?”

There is no magic. I did not have to go to seminary. All I needed was functioning ears, eyes, and a reliance on the Holy Spirit—and to remember that it’s not about me. It’s about Christ and His Body. Most of us have been given everything we need to love and serve each other on behalf of Christ, and in that loving and serving to be Jesus to others.

We need see beyond ourselves. Our flesh—our sin nature—gets in the way, as does the world. But, in Christ we can have victory over both.

We have to be intentional about relationships. We have to work to mortify our self-centeredness, and remind ourselves that the Christian life is one of self-death. But, the paradox of the gospel is that to die is to live, to serve is to be a king, and to give is to truly receive.

We also have to be intentional about the questions we ask—not brilliant, just thoughtful. I asked Roger questions like: What’s going on? How do you feel about the situation (and other things that came up)? Where are you with those things? What do you think God is up to? How might you react differently? How can you get there?

And we have to be intentional about our motives. We are not entering into each other’s lives with a curiosity for the morbid or ugly. We do it because we are His Body, bound together by His love, and commanded, expected, and empowered to love one another as He has loved us. We cannot do that unless we know and are known. When we intentionally seek to obey, when we are open to being known and other-centered enough to know, the love of Christ works through us toward others. The church is strengthened, and individually we become more and more transformed into His image.