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Sunday, July 31, 2005

little heart-shaped stones


awhile back i responded to the challenge that has been out there in the blogosphere to identify the five things you just don't get. i posted these five of mine (not in order of importance…) on another blog...

1) why it is so difficult for people to stop doing things that they know from first-hand experience only lead to personal pain.

2) why people perceive negativity and cynicism as indicators of greater intelligence.

3) why, having been given dominion over all the earth, people still see each other as the final frontier, setting out to conquer their fellows rather than celebrating the diversity of others and reaping the benefits to be gained from valuing one another.

4) why people seem to always put faith and reason on opposite sides of a theosophical continuum. we need to be able to do battle in both arenas and know, in fact, which fights are being held where.

5) why it is so difficult for people to converse with others of differing perspective without trying to either sell them something they don’t want (or see the need for) or convince them to move... in other words, without turning the conversation into one of those battles mentioned above. there would probably be a lot more interesting conversation taking place if people knew that their perspective was going to be respected even by those who held different views. we might all actually become smarter and wiser.

(6) why i am better at writing these words than living them.

***
the comment came back from apocalypse butterflies ... that numbers 2 and 3 appeared to be related.

hmmmm. there's something about survival of the fittest there, i think.

are the fittest to survive the ones who see their negativity and cynicism as indicators of their place on some evolutionary ladder, or are these attitudes simply the hardest ones to break because of so much personal presumption? in other words, is it only the attitudes of negativity and cynicism that survive because they are so beligerently committed to the idea that they are beyond reproach?

we may have just stumbled onto the 'unpardonable sin.'

as long as a heart is so hard and so UNreasonable, what hope is there of that heart turning towards another point of view... in particular, a point of view that holds both the faith in an invisible, yet relational reality and the submission to the will of someone higher who has greater cosmic scope as its key distinctives?

little self-centred gods don't generally surrender without a fight.

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Monday, July 25, 2005

versions



it's not your version of someone else that God intends to use...
it's his version of you

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

tell someone who cares



i'm speaking to teenagers at a camp for the next week or so, so i won't be blogging anything. here are the topics... you can imagine the messages- yours will probably be better! hey, here's an idea: although i won't be able to check back until it's all said and done, it would be fun to see what kind of topical/scriptural messages anyone reading might come up with, relating reality t.v. to God?

REALITY CHECK can reality t.v. direct us towards God?
1) big brother: sharing a house = family? (luke 15.11-31)
2) beauty and the geek: dating- what's love got to do with it? (genesis 29.4-30)
3) survivor: integrity even when it's messy (genesis 37-47- highlights)
4) american idol: potential-created this way on purpose (ephesians 4.1-7, 11-12; 1corinthians 12.12-26)
5) fear factor: 'surely not that, Lord!' (acts 10; ezekiel 4.14)
6) pimp my ride: God of the second chance (acts 16.25-34; 2corinthians 5.17)
7) amazing race: go out... (matthew 28.19; acts 1.8)

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Friday, July 15, 2005

paranoia and our strange little world

But that's how religion is spread, through paranoia....
paranoia and the sword.

It's a strange, strange little world.............bigbro

my world is about to expand drastically, as i will be travelling to sri lanka to do some missions work there in august. even now my arms hurt from the assorted immunization measures that i have undertaken in preparation.

funny thing, though. a younger friend of mine who recognized his call to world missions earlier and has done this a lot already was telling me that fear would masquerade as reason, and that i would become nervous about various things pertaining to the 'stepping outside of my tidy little canadian box.' as i sat the other day at the travel doctor, watching a video underscoring the health risks and possible maltreatments of them in third world (?) countries, i began to grow fearful, imagining all sorts of elaborate scenarios and asking myself 'is this really gonna be worth it?'

then came clarity: Jesus stepped into and back out of death and the grave for me, yet my greatest fears can be lain to rest by some responsible premedication and some good bug spray.

anyway, i say all this to say that paranoia is not a God thing, although sometimes people misinterpret it as something else attributable to God or whatever. when the bible talks about fear (isaiah 8.11-15, for example) it is in the sense of acknowledging the sovereignty and power of God... not cowering before the 'almighty smiter' (ie 'bruce almighty'- how do you suppose that word is spelt in the script?)

in my case, paranoia was being 'applied' to waylay the spreading of the news that God loves people in the east and wants to express that love (in one sense) through the efforts of people from the west to bring aid and resource, not spread religion.

i guess there is always the gorge of eternal peril that exists between one person's faith and another person's spin on 'religion.'

perhaps the peril lies in the idea that faith and religion are the same thing, for who in their right mind would choose religion the way they picture it before experiencing faith?

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

governor



'If God created the universe, then who created God?' Al Einstein

Albert Einstein's reaction to the consequences of his own general theory of relativity appear to acknowledge the threat of an encounter with God. Through the equations of general relativity, we can trace the origin of the universe backward in time to some sort of a beginning. However, before publishing his cosmological inferences, Einstein introduced a cosmological constant, a "fudge factor," to yield a static model for the universe. Einstein later considered this to be the greatest blunder of his scientific career.

well that's really the whole thing with manipulating quanta, isn't it? the best we can predict (backwards or forwards) is the likelihood of a happening...

still, i find that the whole 'if-then' argument here relegates God to created, rather than creator. i mean, yes, a very resourceful and creative created, but a created nonetheless.

problem with our little brains is that we have so much difficulty grasping anything that is not modeled after our own existence. we are created, so we feel all clever when we ask 'who created God?' and so on. in fact, the cleverness begins with being able to approximate the comprehension of a some(one?)(thing?) which needs not to be created in order to exist. our reasoning structures break down because they are regulated- indeed limited and governed- by the same old problem: our 5 senses are the only means by which we can credibly acknowledge a happening to have in fact taken place.

kinda like those really cool-looking 'formula-1' go-carts... they are built to scale, yet are equipped with a governor which restricts them to only doing 10 miles an hour because the track-owners know that the intended drivers (8-12 year-old kids) wouldn't be able to handle them if they went full-speed for their little briggs-and-stratton engines (45 miles an hour?)... much less the speed of a real formula 1 car.

we amature cosmologists are like the 8-12 year-old drivers who leave the track bragging to their friends that they've actually driven a formula 1 racer, and that driving one was really quite simple once you got the hang of it.
***

it's always refreshing for me to read of scientists in search of the mind of God, who use their science in attempts to more completely understand our place in the cosmos, rather than to try to remove God from his:

Dr. "Fritz" Schaefer is the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and the director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize and was recently cited as the third most quoted chemist in the world. "The significance and joy in my science comes in the occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, 'So that's how God did it!' My goal is to understand a little corner of God's plan."
--U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 23, 1991.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

RIGHTeousness?

www.shakeitupbaby.com/blog/ posted this interesting list awhile back. some of it will make you laugh, some of it will make you cry. there has been a lot said about this so-called religious right.
sometimes i wonder how right can be so wrong about so much...

Insane Things You Have to Believe to be a Member of the Religious Right:
1) Our sun is at the center of the universe.
2) There's a serious crisis in this country of people who actually look forward to the thrill and enjoyment that comes with being in a vegetative state, spawning fears that the government might take away this swell pastime.
3) The God who created the heaven and stars and all of eternity, can't create his own son without the uterus of a virgin Jew.
4) Joseph asked no question when he discovered his wife was knocked up, and that the Son of God achieved nothing worth mentioning until he was a Baby Boomer.
5) Stoning others to death is a perfectly accepted way of social feedback.
6) God has a plan for you, AND he gave you free will.
7) Jesus, the most powerful person in history, couldn't write his own book.
8) Although omnipotent, God has enormous self-esteem issues, resulting in his #1 commandment, "thou shall have no other gods before me."
9) The linkage of the Ten Commandments and our base 10 mathematical system, which is based on the number of our fingers, is purely coincidental.
10) God watches very closely what happens at your local pharmacy.
11) Although God endowed his creations with the ability to feel pleasure, he'd prefer that you "don't go there."
12) God put homosexuals on the earth so they could undermine the basic fabric of civilization.
13) Although God gave each of his creations a brain with the ability to reason, he'd rather you ignore this amazing gift of biology, and instead rely on faith.
14) God foresaw the advent of the hotel industry, and decided that this was the optimal location from which to spread The Word.
15) God would rather have those frozen embryos thrown out than have them be used to minimize the suffering of others.
16) The creator of every atom in the universe has enough spare time to take sides in wars involving your country, political contests featuring a candidate you support and sporting events involving your local home team.
17) Fossils have secretly been placed in the geological record in order to give his followers the opportunity to test their faith.
18) The 5,000 documented "creation myths" discovered and researched by anthropologists are all bogus, yet your own cherished beliefs aren't.
19) All Jews are going to hell, but their best selling book, "The Old Testament" is still good enough to explain the world before Jesus.
20) God speaks to President Bush.

***
latter day prophet and poet, bob dylan, paraphrasing scripture said it a different way.
'when you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?'

is that which remains that which is left?

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005



"Celebrities 'do' things (sing badly, act poorly, dress strangely or not at all, talk rudely, smuggle dead raccoons on to talk shows), not for the sake of these things themselves, but as 'hooks' to keep the cameras trained, to feed their gluttonous narcissism."

“But in the end [Live 8] will be just one more self-absorbed, pretentious, hollow celebrity shtick, another moment for ex-punk stars and rock maestros in decline to strut before the world's lights and cameras for a moment more.” (rex murphy, the globe and mail)
***

kinda like writing presumptuous yet empty words of negativity and cynicism about people who are trying to do something in our world rather than to simply sit in judgement and criticism over it? whatever.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

adventure



here's a (modified) letter that i have been distributing to my friends and potential partners in ministry. there have been little hints and things on this blog since may that God was up to something in my heart. i just thought that i'd post this for your consideration (NOT as a solicitation- please don't get the wrong idea!)

if you pray, join me in praying for this 'adventure.'
if you don't pray, but are wondering what this is all about, feel free to either leave comments below or email me at
jollybegger64@hotmail.com

in any event, this is what's going on!
***

God has been moving within my heart in the last while. Whether you know me well or not-so-well, you probably already know that my heart’s desire has always been to lead others, both familiar and unfamiliar into life-changing encounters with God through music, the spoken word and God-honouring relationships. Recently God has called me into a new interpretation of this personal mission, as he has invited me to faithfully follow him overseas to facilitate relationships between the local church in Canada and the local church in Sri Lanka for August 10-22, 2005.

Growing up in the Free Methodist church, I believe that I have probably heard at least one thousand missionary presentations over the years. However, until now I have always felt that God was aiming them at someone else. While meeting informally with a friend in early May of this year, however, God spoke to me about a mission that he had for me to fulfill. My role in this project is essentially to blaze a trail towards the adventures that God is setting up for Canadian Free Methodists from local churches to become involved in Sri Lanka and the world. Although I was pretty sure that God had the wrong guy, it became apparent through numerous affirming prayer times, readings of the bible and conversations with others that God was serious about calling me.

I am excited about this adventure because it invites me to apply more directly the instruction of Jesus found in Acts 1.8 to my own life. Although I deeply believe that God has in no way concluded his work through me here in Canada, I also believe that he is making it clear how I can bear witness to the life-changing work of God ‘to the ends of the earth.’ This trip is an ‘Exploratory Visit’- part of the Free Methodist Church in Canada’s process for local churches to become involved in a Gateway City outreach. The primary objective is learning and building relationships, but I have been asked by the Global Ministries coordinator for the Free Methodist Church in Canada to be prepared to ‘preach, pray or die (with hopefully a couple minutes notice!)’ Although he was joking about the last one, I don’t need to tell you how I covet your prayers in this time.

There are numerous ways that you can join me in this adventure- the first has already been mentioned: fervent prayer. As we seek to glorify God in all things, he often requires us to serve out of our weakness, or at least out of our comfort zones! Please pray for health, peace, and spiritual protection for me and the other members of our team, even in the weeks leading up to the trip of August 10-22, 2005.

The second way to join me and my church in this adventure is to help with the costs. The cost of this trip will be approximately $2500. This will mainly cover my airfare and transportation costs- living expenses will be approximately $300. I know that God is faithful and He will provide what is needed for me to go. Any financial aid, great or small, that you can provide for this trip will be gratefully accepted because it all adds up. My church is authorized to provide tax-deductable receipts for any financial gift.

Thank you for taking time to prayerfully consider how to take part in this adventure that will take us to the ends of the earth.

Shalom