Archives for category: Personal


Pointman hits the nail on the head.

I was born and raised Pentecostal, and thank God I’ve grown out of the fundamentalists aspects of it. I’m inherently a Wesleyan, at least as I know him and his work. Though, mostly, I’m committed to truth. Jesus took the title of truth. I follow Jesus, so absolute commitment to truth seems the absolute requirement. Truth above all. Not dogma, truth. Not man’s interpretation of scripture, truth. Not scripture, since one can set the Bible up as an idol. No idolatry, truth. Truth that can be worked over and found to remain true, over and over, and revised as necessary in order to maintain commitment to the highest possible truth.

I haven’t lost my faith. (Pointy hasn’t either, but he has abandoned all sense of religion. And honestly, I prefer Pointman’s brand of irreligion greatly over a couple like Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Farley and their “church without religion.” I find Pointman a much better example of Christ and what Christianity is to be.) My faith, though, now rests in the goodness of God and not much else. Like Pointman says, if it is going to get fixed, it is up to us. I suspect if asked, Jesus would have affirmed that God helps those who help themselves, at least when they have internalized Micah 8:6 and Ecclesiastes 12:13, and Jesus’ oft repeated command to love one another.

As to losing faith in general, I have never actually seen it. Everyone has faith in the ultimate, in reason, in some sense of purpose. Most of all, we must retain our faith in love. The greatest of these, truly, is love. Without love, I am sound and fury, signifying nothing. Some people become cynical, but all retain a sense of the significance of love.

As to seeing God’s hand in life, well, that is kinda the point. He that comes to God must believe. You cannot figure it until you believe it. It requires the leap first, the leap of faith. I don’t disagree with Pointman regarding his not having that-something for the leap. I’m not the judge, and I don’t know.

Honest people trust in goodness and truth, even though they know they will sometimes be disappointed, sometimes even fatally so. That is life. There is a poem by Robert Browning Hamilton about how sorrow teaches us, Barry McGuire recorded a version on the To the Bride album. This link is to a poor recording of a live performance. YouTube doesn’t seem to have a better rendering. (Spotify does.)

As Pointy points out, “life is a simple but roughty toughty business.”

As to intellectual reasons, well, it is irrefutable that most of the greatest minds of all of history have retained faith. Of course, majority and consensus just don’t hold water as arguments. Despite being in good company, if the ship is going down, all drown. It is, absolutely, a matter of personal belief. Each must follow his own heart. That is the essence of liberty, freedom.

Here is my touchstone: on that day, the books will be balanced. The scores will be settled. Justice will be fully satisfied, but so will Mercy. All will stand, one on one, face to face and answer. Each will know. All will affirm justice with mercy was done. Our religious notions, no matter how deep or shallow, just don’t matter in this context. It is where we are going, and we will know that the outcome was just and merciful. Mother Teresa was right to assert that Love is the key. From memory, she said God will not ask what you did, but whether what you did, you did in love. Trust in God. Act in love. I think the key is do you insist on living for self, or do you strive for something more, something as far above self as the heavens are above the earth.

C.S. Lewis addressed that face-to-face factor:
“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Our road here is short, but it is essential. Make the most of it.

I’ve found more of my theology in the underpinnings of fiction than in theological works, especially the fiction of C.S. Lewis. I’ll mention Madeleine L’Engle as well.

Back to Pointy’s article, I just gotta repeat this: “give my fippence worth of opinion on the head honcho in the poncho’s cycling piece.” Beauty.

I’ve been so busy reading how people are reacting to the encyclical, that I still haven’t read it, but I think it is safe to use the word “anodyne” as a descriptor. Well, good, but sometimes offense is necessary. Even Jesus knew that.

Pointman knows too, and he spares no punch in his next few lines. I’d like to disagree, but he’s too close to define the miss.

Regarding responses to the encyclical, spot on!

To Pointman’s closing comments, I can only say the amen. Amen, brother, amen!

Pointman's

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. If you don’t know me by now, I’ll understand, or will try to understand such determined obscurantism in the face of reading this blog for any amount of time. I will endeavour to add some graphs and equations to it purely for your benefit but only as long as you accept I’ll just be giving it a go, but my heart won’t really be in it.

Meh, bollocks, I’ve done all my graphs and equations porridge, I’m clean nowadays, I’m a quitter, I don’t do that sorta stuff no more, haven’t turned a trick in years. For those people who read slowly and carefully, you probably realised long ago which particular stripe of rockcake I am, so bingo, you got me.

Like so many of my generation, I walked away from it but unlike so many of them, it wasn’t from…

View original post 1,038 more words

Just seems appropriate at the moment.

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

It is amazing how such little things as the Pope’s encyclical can disquiet me so. I suspect the fact I have just lost my father-in-law, and now my paternal grandmother, is more of the cause of the disquiet.

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

I waste away; I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.

For they are like a breath of air; their days are like a passing shadow.

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

At the moment of writing, my dear father-in-law is comfortable, but apparently the prognosis is quite dire. Measuring minutes, rather than hours, certainly not days. My wife, our children, and I are a few hours away. A family friend called to encourage us not to hurry in travel. Perhaps it is useful to suppose he reached a physiological cliff. Cancer can go that way. It is hard being distant at such times.

Lyle has had a good and full life, filled with success in his professional field, mathematics. He has been an excellent father, father-in-law, and grandfather. A blessed and successful man. I’m better for knowing him.

He is 89. He has been able to work in the yard, which he perhaps loves even more than his mathematics, even this spring. He has stayed active with friends, family, and professional associates. He still has full command of his impressive mind. All in all, a good life.

Still, we are, each one of us, a light mist that appears for just a little while, then vanish away.

Reference James 4:14 (Note the cross references on the page.)

It is so hard to keep things in perspective.

We all see ourselves so overlarge. We also undervalue our loved ones.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. http://biblehub.com/psalms/116-15.htm

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. http://biblehub.com/ecclesiastes/7-1.htm

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery. http://biblehub.com/ecclesiastes/8-6.htm

It is a miserable day, but it is a good day.

I posted the following on Facebook in response to an article. It seems appropriate to record it here.

For me and my wife, we faced the question of prenatal testing a couple of times with our children. With our first, we were pregnant at the same time as a friend-couple. They were having some difficulties, and the doctor recommended some testing for them. The tests included information on Downs and a couple other genetic factors. “All was well,” per the tests. My buddy suggested we test also. I asked why, stating it wouldn’t matter to us. We resolved to the outcome when we chose to become pregnant. It was that simple. God had blessed us with a new member of our family. Boy, girl, perfect, or flawed, just didn’t matter. Not at all. We were pregnant, come what may, and it was a blessing. We had a child who didn’t make it past the first few weeks of gestation. With that exception, all of our children have proven “normal,” even beautiful and bright. We are extraordinarily blessed. The thing is, I cannot imagine feeling differently with different results. Sure, there would be pain associated with difficulties, defects, chronic disease, and death, but I’d be no less blessed. (You cannot tell it, but I’ve teared up at the moment.) I’ve known several people with Downs. They have all been, even are, blessings to know.

I find it a sad statistic that 90% of women who are given test results that their unborn child has Downs abort. (That is what the aforementioned article was about.)

Not much on this one. My son went to a large event over the weekend and picked up Influenza-A. Got him to the doctor yesterday, and they ran the basic test (not the subtype test) and confirmed. So, the doctor prescribed Tamiflu (Genetech [Roche]) for everyone. I apparently needed it a day or two earlier.

While flu this year seems to have peaked about the first of the year, a few places didn’t get the memo, including Oklahoma.

Flu map 12March2015

So far, no biggie. Minor as flu goes, but enough fever and cough to figure I’m doing my coworkers a favor by staying home. I expect I’ll need a nap soon. That will do me good, and a much more reasonable activity at home.

The title comes from the words of our Lord. Note, Jesus added “mind” to the quote from the Jewish Law. Mark tells us Jesus said it, adding mind, and the lawyer answered back wisely that we must love God with our whole understanding. It is clear that part of our service to, and love for, God includes our thinking and knowledge. That is science and philosophy. It is unwise, according to the scripture, to hold that there is animosity between science and faith. In fact, I hold that there cannot be one without the other.

Shannon Medisky wrote an article for BioLogos, http://biologos.org/blog/soul-strength-and-mind-how-biologos-brought-me-out-of-hiding, explaining how she felt shunned by her fellow Christians for accepting science without twisting it to certain dogma. I’ll add that the dogma in question is not even orthodox.

Ms. Medisky explains how she grew up as excited about Jesus as she was about science, but she soon realized that most Christians won’t stand for that. She closeted herself.

She correctly states:

We’re called to love God with all our soul, strength and mind. My scientific pursuits and interests were an important part of the latter. Learning more about the world—including how we got here—was simply another facet of honoring God. And to do anything less than wonder, question and learn would be to deny a very important part of the potential God so graciously gave us all.

That is how I have always felt. Like her, I’ve always stayed quiet about my acceptance of science, especially after I lost all reservations regarding biological evolution, but I’ve never been one to back down or equivocate. If you ask, I’m going to answer, and I’ll be as honest as I know how to be.

She wrote for BioLogos. It makes sense that she praised them highly. While she felt alone, I learned long ago there were plenty of Christians like me who accepted science as simply part of God’s creation. Still, BioLogos is a comfort to me too, and it is an excellent resource. If you want to learn, BioLogos is an excellent place to start.

Of course, if you’d rather just be fundamentalist, go ahead and take the indoctrination and talking points of the young-earth creationists, and be confrontational and sure of yourself. However, I strongly recommend following the words of the prophet Micah, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Yes, this is what the Lord requires of each of us.

Regarding Jesus statements regarding creation.

Mike listed, “Mark 10:6: Mark 13:9; Luke 11:50-51; john 5:45-47 links Jesus to Moses- Exodus 20:11 plainly says God created the world in 6 days. Pretty strait forward teaching by our Lord and savior.”

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’

but from the beginning of the creation, a male and a female God did make them;

6 ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/10-6.htm

2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,a 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Context here has hardly anything to do with creation. It is about divorce. It is about the hardness of their hearts. It is about submitting ourselves to the order God establishes. There is no hint of Jesus sanctioning some interpretation of the creation hymns over some other.


Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
But from the beginning of the creation,…. Of the world, or of man: , “from the beginning of the creation of the world”, is a way of speaking often used by the Jews (r): the phrase “of the creation” is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; and so it was in Beza’s most ancient copy, and it is only read, “from the beginning”, as in Mat_19:4,8; see Gill on 
Matthew 19:4, See Gill on Matthew 19:8

As Gill points out, the creation reference is simply “beginning.” It seems unlikely Jesus added more than “in beginning, God.” No elaboration regarding how or what.

Seem to have missed something with Mark 13:9. Seems more of a Freudian slip. Perhaps the reference is to verse 19.

I’m not quite sure how this apocalyptic statement applies to “creation,” but:

http://biblehub.com/mark/13-19.htm

For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.

for those days shall be tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the creation that God created, till now, and may not be

19 ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται.

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/13-19.htm

The language is hyperbolic, not making any commentary on creation. Mike, I certainly hope you understand that I hold God as creator.

http://biblehub.com/luke/11-51.htm

from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.

from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who perished between the altar and the house; yes, I say to you, It shall be required from this generation.

http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-35.htm

What am I missing here? How does this have anything to do with commentary on some interpretation of the creation hymns?

http://biblehub.com/esv/john/5.htm

45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Again, what am I missing? Jesus believed in Moses. I believe in Moses. How does this enlighten us regarding some interpretation of the creation hymns?

I’ll throw in this: http://www.godofevolution.com/did-jesus-believe-in-a-six-day-creation-and-a-literal-adam/ I find Mr. Francke a bit hard to take at times, but I generally agree with him.

The symbology of the creation week in the first creation hymn of Genesis is not in question. I do wonder how someone can take this particular bit of the story and make it literal while ignoring such assertions about a firm dome that separates the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but there is nothing firm up in the sky, and there are certainly no waters up there for such a dome to keep from falling on us.

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7549.htm

One can pretend the word just means “expanse,” but it clearly indicates the firm separation of waters above and below the earth. The notion is elsewhere in the bible, including http://biblehub.com/2_peter/3-5.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_cosmology

http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/gre13.htm

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/11/ancient-hebrew-cosmology.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/cosmo_bibl2.htm

Don’t forget the fact that the first three chapters of Genesis contain two separate hymns. The two are different in so many ways that asserting they are somehow the same, by the same author, is simply disingenuous. I suspect that if Moses were around, he’d tell us that the two creation hymns were the stories of his people, God’s people. I further suspect that if Moses were to deny such an obvious and simple explanation and attempt to prove in a court of law that he was the original and sole author of the two stories, he could not convince a jury, especially if Shem and Ham were able to speak up and claim authorship of one each before Moses.

So, Mike, for the record, I agree with Jesus. I cannot find evidence that Jesus ever said anything about creation that could help us know how to interpret the creation hymns. Any assertion regarding Jesus’ teaching about creationism is simply wrong.

The clear teaching of Jesus was to love one another.

I consider this a central tenet of Jesus, “28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

I consider Jesus’ addition of “mind” to be significant, and I choose to love the lord with all my mind. My mind includes the knowledge that several different, independent disciplines in science confirm the usefulness of the aspects of biological evolution day in and day out.

I routinely post information related to evolution, and the weight of evidence, the breadth of evidence, the practicality of the evidence is overwhelming. I could not honor truth any other way than accept that evolution is a theory is as established and as useful as the theory of gravity.

As a closing thought, consider ebola. It is big in the news right now. Please review this article: http://thenaturalhistorian.com/2014/10/24/fossil-virus-found-in-hamsters-points-to-an-ancient-origin-of-ebola-virus/

(I reblogged that blog article previously.) Consider that virus DNA sometimes gets mixed up into animal DNA, and it goes along for the ride through the generations. The Natural Historian discusses an example of such with regard to ebola and hamsters and voles. Do hamsters and voles fit your definition of “kinds”?

Consider this: http://biologos.org/blog/the-evolutionary-origins-of-genetic-information-part-1

That set of articles goes in-depth explaining what we know of biological evolution in genetics.

Regardless, there are plenty of confirmable examples of speciation. It takes a determined, a predetermined, mindset to ignore the evidence and keep asking for more. Jesus had it happen to him, and he replied that the only sign would be his resurrection. Well, I can’t and won’t make such claims, but I find it insulting to be badgered about examples of speciation when a simple Google search can find many, many examples in the published literature in seconds.

Further, evolution does not depend on confirmation of a common ancestor for all of us apes. In fact, the practicality of evolution doesn’t depend on any aspect of it being proven. The fact remains that it is useful. It is probably the most useful and most beneficial theory in all of science, in all of history.

Finally, let’s go so far as to suppose some knowledge and evidences are discovered that are so profound that all of biological evolution is “disproven” and abandoned and replaced by new theories that work even better. Then what? Would it prove God? Would it lend any support to creationism? No. It would not. God would still be approachable ONLY by faith. The railers would still rail. No new thing would be under the sun.

Accordingly, I close with a question: Why fight me and others who accept the obvious? Why tell me I’m wrong to acknowledge evolution? Why badger me for evidence you won’t accept? Why pretend some society or organization will give me money if I “prove” evolution? You know good and well that no one will ever collect on such an “offer.” The criteria set are simply impossible. Why not admit that such offers are only grandstanding? Admit that such offers are disingenuous.

Obey Jesus and love.

We must remember. Today is a day to always remember. We must remain vigilant. We must also do what we can to live a life that contributes to a more loving world.

9-11

Remember.

It is but one day.There is much more we must remember. All that led up to the world wars. It is trying to happen again. We must remember, and we must act responsibly.

We must learn that each individual is worth it all. No one can be dismissed. We must each respect all.

Pastor spoke this morning on dealing with our emotions. Good sermon.

I’ve been called emotional, more often than I’d like, and it always makes me think, because I don’t think of myself as emotional compared to what I call emotional.

Emotional means prone to acting on ones emotions. I don’t do that. However, I do tend to let my emotions show through, sometimes in flashing neon. Still, I don’t let my emotions dictate my actions. (Well, almost never.)

I’ve always considered emotions as integral. Emotions are simply part of what we are as humans, as individuals. I’ve never seen sense in trying to deny emotions, or be Vulcan (as in Star Trek). Emotions are what they are, and there just isn’t much ruling of them. Logic must have the final say, but there is nothing logical about pretending emotions aren’t real, powerful, and generally dominant until we think things through. Actions must be ruled by reason, but emotions just happen. I’ve always known that, and I’ve always tried to get the logic involved before the emotions get control of the actions. I’ve always considered myself good at it, but of course you should check with disinterested third parties. 🙂

Back to Pastor’s sermon, he read Psalms 137 for us.

Start by listening to this Lamb song:

Read the rest of this entry »

I post a lot. I get nearly no feedback. No worries. That isn’t what I’m doing.

Here, I’m interested in recording what I’m interested in. I hope to write and learn here. Writing helps me think.

On Facebook, it is mostly just sharing what I came across that interested me at the moment. I get a like on Facebook here and there, but mostly only when I post a photograph of one of my exceptionally beautiful daughters. (Yes, I’m a proud daddy, but of course, my wife and mother get all the credit in the beauty department.) Facebook is so random. I mostly figure there is no telling what people saw even if they were trying.

I posted today that this is the tenth anniversary of my father’s death, and I received some very appreciated comments. I suppose I would have thought there would have been more.

It really is not that big a deal to me, but it just seems it needed another word. Thus, this.

I availed myself of an opportunity to see Ray Comfort’s video. It was worse than I could imagine. What bothered me most was that while he shoved microphones up people’s noses and badgered and bullied them, the Christians watching tended to cheer. So sad.

I suppose that many in that room felt they had been bullied, either for their antievolutionary views, or more generically for just being Christian, but when you can make PZ Myers look like a generally good guy, better than you make yourself look, you have failed.

We teach our children not to bully. We teach them not to cheer on the perpetrator when someone pays back the bully or other generally bad children. We teach our children to repay good for evil, as our Lord taught us. We teach our children to walk in love and to go the extra mile, even to turn the other cheek. The adults in the room watching Ray Comfort badger and bully people seemed to have forgotten that, or that it should apply doubly to them as teachers, those to whom much has been entrusted.

I viewed the video as an utter failure in all regards. It seems impossible, but I assume Comfort thought he was doing something akin to evangelism in the making of the film and the derogatory treatment of his victims both in person and in the cutting room.

One can only guess how many people simply walked away when approached by Comfort, being treated so rudely. One can only wonder how many people gave more cogent answers, or how many became obviously terrified. How many people were interviewed who did not give answers that fit the narrative Comfort cobbled together?

There was no truth, no honesty, and no compassion in the video. Are those who condone the video simply saying all is fair in love and war? If so, they got the war part right. The interviews were essentially hit and run warfare on the unsuspecting people attacked in the video. Perhaps they assert they are making war on us, so we must make war on them. However, I again remember our Lord telling us to love those who persecute us.

I tried to Google search for anyone else calling Comfort a bully. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find any.

I agree with this article.

http://www.godofevolution.com/evolution-vs-god-denigrates-science-using-technology-that-science-makes-possible/

I really think it wise to recall a song from one of the legends of country music, Marijohn Wilkin, and her song God is Love.

http://www.valentinemusic.co.uk/home/music/marijohn-wilkin-buckhorn-music/marijohn-wilkin-buckhorn-music-tracks (scroll down a bit)

The opening lines are the point. The fire-and-brimstone preacher seems to always forget that God is Love!

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,a but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;b 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I don’t think I find any of this in Comfort’s video, especially what I underlined.

The Freeman has interviews with Anne Wortham, the latest here, http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/the-individualist-part-2-an-interview-with-anne-wortham, and it is an eye-opening review of individualism versus collectivism.

I simply cannot understand why so many people hold the Borg (of Star Trek fame) as an ideal and as an objective to aim for.

In the end, there are only individuals. No set of characteristics is universal. No collective goal is truly good for the individuals absorbed within conformity. I am me, and no one else is sufficiently like me to be grouped with me in a collective that can be treated as a single entity. Perhaps I can try to be a conformist, but ultimately, my only identity is this dying man who is trying to accomplish something worthwhile in the fleeting moment I have on this mortal coil.

All the things I take as part of me, all the things that can group me or categorize with some societal group ultimately mean nothing. No one in such groups cares about me. I’m just one individual, which is exactly the point.

I am just one.

If I can be left to my own, perhaps I can leave this place confident I did my part.

However, if forced to be part of the collective, if coerced into compliance and conformity, then I’m hardly even a statistic, no more significant than the latest victim of some tragic accident.

Be yourself and don’t worry about the group. When each of us focuses on what is right, on what is important to try to accomplish as an individual, true to oneself and what one is inside, then the world will be a better place. I remember someone saying he was going to start with the man in the mirror; going to ask him to change his ways. That individual tried to be unique, and he was right.

This Easter, reviewing Facebook items, I came across many comments celebrating Easter and life, and also the 19 April 1995 bombing here in Oklahoma City, and a couple of comments from our Oklahoma Blood Institute, to whom I donate regularly.

I wanted to specifically point out a comment from a friend, an Oklahoma State Senator (State House), Kyle Loveless.

He wrote (he makes boots and leather goods):

I was at the family business when we felt the explosion.

I had just got back from an errand and later found out had I been late I would have been cut up by broken glass of the store I visited.

We have a machine that literally weighs a ton, it shook and moved at the vibrations of the explosion of thee bomb at the Murrah building.

We went outside and thought a building gas line had exploded and it wasn’t too long before we got the news.

I remember getting the call from OKCPD asking of we could provide some leather for the search and rescue K-9 units because the rubble was too harsh for their paws. We stopped everything until we had the stuff they needed – my dad and I went down and delivered – I will never forget what I saw, what I smelt, what I witnessed,

I will never forget.

I’ve met many who helped that day. My family had not moved to OKC at that time. We were affected though, then and on to today.

Let us celebrate life. Death is always near. And, keep perspective: We all die young.

4-1 ds

When confronted with awkward examples of literalism, biblical literalists like Ken Ham point out that some biblical passages are literally poetry and artistic imagery, and that is certainly true.

There are still significant problems that are always ignored, though.

RJS (rather than Dr. McKnight) of Jesus Creed posted this article, http://musingsonscience.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/no-interpretation-needed/ where he discusses the tendency of biblical literalism to be more along the lines of philosophical foundationalism, which he asserts is often the same for strident atheists.

Flat earth? It is hard to claim artistic speech or poetry with the four corners of the earth. Revelation 7:1, while it is a vision, it is hard to assert it is merely figurative. Revelation 20:8, where the revelator likens the army to the sands of the sea, but at least he indicate that is simile. Isaiah 41:8-9 can hardly be seen as God speaking metaphorically. There is textual uncertainty in that one though. Isaiah 11:12 is a pretty straight forward statement of four corners.

There are enough references to corners, and other references indicating the ability to see all the earth from great height (or vice versa), that it is easy to argue for a flat earth, yet nearly all Christians reject the notion. We know good and well it is spherical and has no corners. That is a problem generally ignored by biblical literalists.

The bible indicates the earth is firmly established and cannot be moved. The Psalms assert it twice. While obviously poetic, the statement is clear, not presented with an apparent intent of artistic licence. It is reasonable to suppose the Psalms are remembering David’s song when the ark of God was returned, as recorded in I Chronicles 16. Again, poetic, but not presented as metaphor in any way. It seems obvious the biblical writers understood earthquakes, so they could not have been intending to mean the ground never trembles. They seem clearly to have meant the earth was on a stationary foundation that couldn’t be kicked over or disrupted. Again, no one supposes this means what it seems plainly to mean. Another ignored issue among biblical literalists.

There is, also, the use of the word for heaven. The bible regularly uses it to indicate the air, where the birds fly, and the sky where the celestial bodies are, and for the abode of God, and then there is the heaven of heavens reference. Real hard to get literal with that much variability in one word.

While many of the biblical assertions about heaven, such as where God stores snow, hail, and lightning, can be justifiably taken as figurative, it is quite hard to get around Genesis 1:6-8 when one insists on strict literalness in the rest of the first chapter.

http://biblehub.com/genesis/1-6.htm

http://biblehub.com/genesis/1-7.htm

http://biblehub.com/genesis/1-8.htm

These links open each verse with several translation in parallel. Clicking a version heading for a verse will open the chapter in that translation. Note the tool bars toward the top of the pages. The interlinear shows the Hebrew and transliteration, with ready links for the word or (more informatively) Strongs’ rendering of it.

Obviously the only way to take these statements literally is with this graphic:

4-1 ds

I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard of anyone espousing that concept. That is, there are still a few people, typically claiming backing from their sacred writings, that the earth is flat, or that the earth is actually stationary with all the universe revolving around it. (Not only Christians do this.) But I’ve never heard of anyone trying to claim this graphically depicted view that so closely matches the statements in the opening chapter of Genesis. No one in modern memory asserts the universe is filled with water and that the sky is firm enough to separate out some air for the earth to sit in within.

I also have trouble seeing how to take literally the waters gathering together in a single place, yet the very next verse refers to seas (plural). It is verifiably obvious that all the water is not gathered in just one place, and the fact is confirmed right there in the remainder of the statement using the plural for large bodies of water.

Check it. http://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/1-10.htm

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/3220.htm

I’ll close by quoting RJS’ closing:

“The foundationalist approach to knowledge is the root of many errors. We need to read Scripture for all it is worth, from beginning to end. But the foundation of our faith is in God and in the person of Jesus Christ, not in the “plain” reading of Genesis 1.”

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