Advice from an Atheist

September 6, 2007

Simon Blackburn writes an engaging, persuasive, and witty book about his conception of the nature of truth in “Truth:  A Guide.”  As he introduces his audience to the seminal debate between the absolutist and the relativist he has this to say, “I try to write with the creed that we need to think and to reflect, if we are to be in control of our words and ideas rather than be controlled by them.”

Whether it is philosophy, politics, theology or just our everyday personal lives – we should heed Blackburn’s advice!


So What Do You Know?

September 4, 2007

So how much can we really know anyhow.  I have my perceptions about reality and yet I only have access to my thoughts, my experiences and my perceptions.  Yes, I converse with others but none of us has direct access to how another truely thinks or feels.  Our perceptions of another’s thoughts may be utterly in the opposite of the facts.  Like what happened on my jog yesterday.  I’m running (albeit rather slowly in the 85 degree heat) on the sidewalk in the typical suburban neithborhood.  With my sunglasses on I can’t make direct eye contact with anyone.  So I see this guy with a tatoo and what looks like a bag of beer and he’s on the phone.  Now, I’m normally this cheery type, always saying or waving “Hi!” when I jog by someone.  But this time the shadiness of the guy prompted me to keep my head fixed squarely in front of me.  So when I actually do pass him he says into his phone “f….in  jogger not even f…in”  Well, I didn’t hear much after the two f_bombs.

So he clearly made assumptions about me as I was not courteous to him.  So what is his vision of reality in the burbs such that I negatively reinforced his perception of reality?  And is his conception, which would lay to waste the facade of suburban paradise, the more accurate one?

The Doctrine Dance

February 2, 2007

To doctrine or not to doctrine, that is the question. Does doctrine divide? If one does not learn about various doctrines of the Christian faith does that entail that she holds no doctrine what so ever?  Is there such as thing as neutral doctrine or do our words thoughts and actions betray a doctrine even if it is unconscious or unacknowledged?

Is seems to me that pondering doctrine from time to time is a good thing.  For the moment, I’ll refrain from making bombastic pronouncements over who’s doctrine is correct.  That is not the issue of this post.  Rather, I think we and I live a more impoverished Christian life when we neglect that which Paul admonished Timothy to be mindful of – our doctrine. (Yes, Paul also mentioned watching one’s life, but that seems to be trendy right now and not neglected like doctrine is).  By thinking through what the Bible says about who God is and working through how others have interpreted the Scripture I do not become one of the elite, educated Christians who is now closer to God because of my vast knowledge.  Nor does this engagement of the intellect qualify me for roles of authority in the church (For I might have developed much information while at the same time I cheat others in business and show disdain for family and neighbors).  Rather thinking about doctrine and recognizing that these truths, however imprecise and imperfectly articulated due to our lack of omniscience, make universal claims on my life and the entire world brings one into a direct contact with the reality of “I AM.”  I, we can’t walk away from those ponderings and switch, unchanged to another daily activity, like shoveling the snow or doing the dishes.  Encountering the “I AM,” even if the encounter begins with thoughts about our Creator is itself a transformational process.

Finally…a runner’s delight

January 23, 2007

Perfect run today.  Colorado crystal clear blue skies.  Snow covered landscape (and despite the warming trend likely to be snow covered for at least a few more days). Warm enough to ditch the outer jacket and enjoy crisp “above freezing” air!  Dry pavement and no injuries!! And no icicles hanging from the nose!!

Peace at last!

January 19, 2007

Finally, after 6-18 months of wrangling and wrestling, worrying, deliberating, debating, praying, pouring over scripture…finally peace and wonder at the landscape before us. Yes the door behind is closed, but it’s not closed on a sad and ugly place, but on a place that also holds the wonder and beauty of the Lord at work. I have to agree with Susan “It is amazing the clarity when the decision is made to doggone do what Jesus told you to do in the first place.” Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been tagged…

January 17, 2007

Okay so I’ve officially been tagged. I suppose when a blogger gets tagged that entails throwing a large party. After all that is a bit like a debutante ball. Thought my ball may be the small type since I only got tagged once. But then again the tagger, Susan, has the heart of at least two people. So here it goes:

1) What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why?

As a software developer I write code and I teach classes on programming in LabVIEW. One client actually paid me to teach a class in Sydney, Australia. It was fantastic. The engineers were increadibly bright, working on facinating projects and were wonderful hosts. I’m still amazed they actually paid me for the work/fun. (Actually, I love my work. To think that I get paid for something that is a blast is a real blessing.) Read the rest of this entry »

“Stay tuned for more on this developing storm…”

January 9, 2007

Okay folks, I recently saw the above words right before blizzard #2 and blizzard (or rather very large snow storm) #3. And this is the wisdom we are now getting from local weather forecasters, or should I say weather warlocks? (Interestingly, the MS Word 2003 thesaurus includes “forecast” as a synonym for “divination” 🙂 ). I’m convinced that next to the computers that model these storms in the meteorological center is a dark closet with a Ouija board. Anyhow, time to stock up on a few essentials at the grocery store. So Becky, tell AV to sludge 40 feet (not miles) across the street to grab a loaf of bread, some yummy cheese and settle down with an engaging book or flick. Seems that I have one more good running day (I run MWF and Sat or Sun) before the yuck hits again. Seriously I doubt I’ll see the grass in my yard until March, at the earliest. Read the rest of this entry »