2005-07-01

Frequently Asked Questions


Why the name "One Salient Oversight"?

The phrase itself literally means "One very important and obvious thing that has been missed". "
Salient" as a noun is related to something that "stands out" in military jargon.

As an Evangelical I could say that I devised the name as a pointer to Jesus - that he is the very important and obvious thing that our world has missed. But that's not what it is about. The origin of
the name has a more mundane and rather "geeky" history.

When I first went online in 1998 I was naturally overawed about what the internet was like. I was also at the time a huge fan of the TV show "Millennium" by Chris Carter (the guy who created "The X-Files"). So one of the first things I did was to visit the Millennium discussion forum where I was able to speak to people all over the world about the show. Naturally I needed a nickname, so I called myself "neilinoz" - a rather lame name (but one that I used for many years before finally ditching it in 2004). While I was on the discussion board, I created a "sockpuppet" with the name "One Salient Oversight" because it was part of an important scene in the Millennium Pilot episode where Frank Black (played by Lance Henriksen) first meets Peter Watts:

Man: "I'm Peter Watts, from the Group." [He hands Frank an envelope.]

Watts: "I would have faxed you, but I wanted to introduce myself."

Frank: "I heard you were down looking at the body. Did you find anything?"

Watts: "A few things slipped by. One salient oversight... "


OSO1

The point of this exchange is that Peter has discovered that someone who was examining the body of the murder victim forgot to report something rather important in the autopsy. Those who have seen the pilot episode will know what I am talking about. I found the use of the expression to be quite unusual, and it immediately stuck in my head. Millennium fans everywhere will no doubt remember the expression.

What is an Evangelical Polymathic Cassandra?

Evangelical
The particular definition is quite broad, but it essentially means that I am a Born-again Christian. I became born-again at the age of 13 in 1982. In terms of a system of belief, it means that I believe that the Christian faith is the only true religion; that Jesus Christ was both man and God; that he died on the cross for our sins and physically rose from the dead; that all who place their faith in Christ and who repent of their rejection of God will be forgiven and saved.

To read the story of how I became a Christian, click here.

In terms of my peculiarities as an Evangelical, I am Protestant, Reformed and Amillennial. I also hold to the "Five Solas". I am an Elder in the Presbyterian Church of Australia, and hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith. I agree with all the points in the Cambridge Declaration and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. I hold to all Five Points of Calvinism. Although I believe in a six-day creation, I am not a Young Earth Creationist.

Nevertheless, I hold to quite a number of liberal political beliefs. Evangelicals are typically portrayed in the media as "right-wing conservatives". While I certainly hold to some conservative views, I am of the opinion that many values held by Evangelical Christians are actually unbiblical, and can be freely critiqued.

Polymath
A Polymath is a person who has expertise in many different areas. Another word to use would be "Renaissance Man". What I am essentially pointing out is that I have an interest in different areas of study, along with some form of artistic creativity. I am not truly a polymath in the sense that I have formal qualifications in different fields, but I feel I can hold my own in the fields of theology, politics, economics, education, ancient and modern history and English literature. It is these last three fields (Education, History and English) that were part of my University study. I also write poetry and songs.

Cassandra
A "Cassandra" is essentially a person who thinks they occasionally suffer from "Cassandra Syndrome". This syndrome involves the curse of knowing the future, but not having the means to convince anyone of what is going to happen. I am therefore a sort of Futurist, although I would definitely stop short at calling myself a prophet (my predictions come from my own mind and are from an attempt at objective and rational analysis - not divine communication).

You're not from America. How can you comment about American issues when you're obviously ignorant?

Hmmm.. I have had this question a few times.

Firstly, such a question assumes that it is impossible to be knowledgeable about the subject because I am not American nor live in America. You might as well say "You don't know squat because you're black!" Yes, it is the same logic. It means you are being racist.

Secondly, such a question often comes up when a reader cannot think of any other way to respond. Unable to cope with my logic and my brilliant argument, they decide to attack the person rather than the argument. This means that you can't think properly.

Remember that Simpson's episode where Homer was at high school and trying to get Marge to fall in love with him? He was part of a debating team and the only thing he could do to rebut the other person's argue was to moon the opposition team. Well, that's a similar sort of reply.

Thirdly, you are making an assumption that I am speaking through a part of my body that was never intended to be used for speech. That is quite presumptive on your part. I never assume that people are idiots simply because I disagree with them. What this means is simple - you are rude.

Fourthly, I have spent quite a lot of time on the internet talking with people from America, usually via blog comments and message boards. Most of these people tend to respect my opinions and arguments. Many Americans like me and what I write, so please don't assume you're speaking for them when you start calling me names. By doing this, you are proving yourself to be an ignoramus.

So I'm not allowed to disagree with you?

Of course you're allowed to disagree with me! Write comments to your heart's desire. Just remember to make an argument - and don't resort to abuse. I enjoy defending my points of view, and I occasionally change them once I have been proven wrong.

Why do you hate America?

I don't. I'm fascinated by America and repelled by America. Although as an Evangelical Christian I believe that our world is passing, I am concerned about whether our world is getting to be a better place. In that sense, the better America is, the better our world will be.

Are you a Pastor?

No - not in a full-time paid capacity anyway. This is a sore point since I have tried three times to into full-time ministry since 1994, and I honestly think I've been treated badly by those who knocked me back. Most of my preaching has come as a lay preacher since 2001.

If you look at Titus 1.5-9 and 1 Timothy 3.1-7, I'm fairly sure that I fit into all the Biblical characteristics of being an overseer. I have the ability to teach and preach, and my brothers and sisters in Christ at my church had no hesitation in ordaining me as an elder - which means they reckon my life and doctrine are okay.

What's that you say? There are other important characteristics that pastors should have that are not mentioned in the Bible? Go check out Sola Scriptura dude. Or maybe even read this.

Tell us a bit about your personal life

Sure thing Mr. heading. I was born in July 1969. I was born around the same time as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the moon landing. I was named Neil because of that.

I live in Newcastle, Australia. If I had been born in the Northern Hemisphere I could have been born in the Summer of '69. I spent most of my life living in Sydney. I was brought up as a child in Cheltenham, moved to Carlingford in 1990-1991, then lived in Croydon while at Bible College, then Merrylands from 1994-2000, then Waratah in Newcastle from 2001 until now.

I have attended three churches in my life:

1983-1988 St. Alban's Anglican Church, Epping, NSW website
1988-2000 St. Paul's Anglican Church, Carlingford, NSW website
2001- now Charlestown Presbyterian Church, NSW website

I thank God for Venlafaxine hydrochloride.

Family


That's not a question. But I think I know what you're asking...

Anna (b. April 1970) is my wife - we were married in June 1993. We have two children, Aiden (b. December 2000) and Lillian (b. March 2005).

Anna is a social worker, and has a BSW from UNSW and a MSW from the University of Newcastle.

I "married up".

My dad is Alistair, my mum is Mary. Dad was an Electrical Engineer, but both he and mum are now retired, though dad spends his time on genealogy work. They live in Bundanoon.

My older sister is Anne (you can see her in the picture holding Lillian). She lives in Bundanoon as well. She has two adult daughters, Leah and Katherine.

I have an older brother Robert. He has lived all over the place, including Leeton.
He currently lives in Armidale.

I have an older brother named James, who is married to Petria. He is a minor deity in the Linux pantheon. Here is his website. Despite appearances, he is not a terrorist.

One of my great-great-great grandfathers was a Black African Slave.

Important Lists:

Read the texts of my Sermons.

What are you: Right-wing or Left-wing?

I am fairly left-wing when it comes to my political stance. By this I mean that I am not against big government: I support increases in taxation to support increased government spending to improve the living standards of the community as a whole. I think that millions of people around the world (including America) would benefit from an intelligent form of Social Market Economics. Other political and economic models I would be happy to promote would be Social Democracy, Social Liberalism and Ordoliberalism. Because of my belief that these form of government/economics will improve people's lives, I would probably vote for the Democratic party if I lived in America. I do have a limit to how radical I would go - I would not promote Democratic Socialism or anything left of that (Socialism, Communism, Marxism).

Neverthless, because I am an Evangelical Christian who holds to Sola Scriptura (see above), I am compelled to hold on to beliefs that do not match my left-wing "box". In this case, I must inform you that I believe homosexual behaviour is wrong and not what God intended for humankind. I also believe that a fetus is a human being from the moment of conception, and that the termination of pregnancy results in the death of a real person.

But if you're a homosexual or have had an abortion, then I will not treat you badly. Feel free to enter into discussions at this site.

I also believe in a six-day creation, but I do not support the teaching of "Intelligent Design" or "Young Earth Creationism" in public schools alongside studies in Evolution. If I was in America, it would certainly be one of those "First amendment" thingys.

For a more detailed explanation of my position on abortion - including my disagreement with current "pro-life" strategies - click here.




The rest of this article is under construction...




5 comments:

Tommy B at the news desk said...

I don't believe you are a real person.

Frenchcut said...

Saturday Afternoon in Hampshire.

You've been waiting all week for this, don't blow it. Take block, look around where they are all standing. Look at that stupid long run up he's got, he thinks he so bloody good. Relax, focus, tap, tap, tap, taptaptap, taptaptaptaptaptap.
Keep your head still, decide front or back foot, decide defend or attack, decide ground or air, decide duck, leave or play, decide off or on side, roll wrists, keep it down or up, keep your eye on the ball and watch your middle stump get uprooted, cartwheeled and find bails lying naked as you walk off the ground, a dog is barking, an old man is walking with stick, your team is talking, reading, drinking, they all missed the dismissal, next please. Have a beer, turn the radio on, "Oh No not bloody Jimmy [prefect] Maxwell, where the bloody hell is Christopher Martin Jenkins or Henry Blowers Blofeld?" Read the newspaper by the fire, walk to the grandstand take binoculars, see the game from above..little pieces on a chessboard moving around. And this is the best County Cricket can offer!

Frenchcut said...

Stumbling out of pub with team mates, go home and watch that dismissal over and over again on video, the girlfriend happened to be filming for once. You played all over it, bat still coming down when the bails were death dancing. Super slow-mo, watch yourself walk off like AB at Melbourne with 70,000 people, gloves in helmet, head down, bat [like sword]under arm. Crash on couch, dream of batting with Kim Hughes, your facing Joel 'Big Bird' Garner at Perth, the ball keeps bouncing over your head, you borrow a step ladder from the square leg umpire and smack the bloody thing out of the WACA, Garner wants a piece of you, you whack him over the head with ladder then Viv, then Holding, then Haynes, it's all all in brawl and the ABC have suspended their broadcast, but the Channel 9 team boys are loving it esp. I. Chappell, you're a hero now, the Windies are lying all around the ground, stumps through bodies, bails up nostrils, the crowd go wild, this is more like it.

Alan said...

Hi there.. to quote you:

"If you look at... ...1 Timothy 3.1-7, I'm fairly sure that I fit into all the Biblical characteristics of being an overseer. I have the ability to teach and preach, and my brothers and sisters in Christ at my church had no hesitation in ordaining me as an elder - which means they reckon my life and doctrine are okay."

Interestingly you also fit into the Biblical Characteristics of verses 8 - 13, and I really like the verse 13 that states that church helpers are able to speak boldly about their faith.. That I can see you doing, and I really encourage you to keep doing so! God seems to be working actively in you life, and according to Calvinism which you support, you can be happy knowing that although we are responsible for our decisions God's will shall always prevail, so if God really wants you as an ordained minister or some such thing, know that you will make it.. but in the meantime, continue doing the work for Christ that you are involved with.. and you'll be in my prayers :-)
God Bless,
Alan

Alan Paul said...

Do you work??? Didn't see anything about your profession.