Friday, July 28, 2006

Ok a post it is....

So, be sure to click on and enlarge and read and laugh at the comic below. That aside, I turn to graver issues. Recently I have been reading "A Chance to Die" which is a book about the life of Amy Carmichael. She was a facinating lady who spent most of her life as a "missionary" in India. She basically ended up in India hoping to preach to the millions of people who she had heard were dying every year without having heard about Jesus. Along the way she began finding children who needed, for one reason or another, to be rescued. Some were abandoned; many were sold or were going to be sold to the local hindu temples to be "married to the gods" or rather, to become temple prostitutes. These are small young children mind you.
Well a few children became dozens, and became a nursury, and became a few nursuries, and became a dozen nursuries and still grew. Its a pretty amazing story. The book cannot seem to help but praise this woman, although, it is, in fact, critical of some of her methods. She was raised in a strict Irish presbyterian family (i think) and some of her strict and victorian roots came across in her dealings with people.
The most amazing thing to me was her take on money. I imagine that she made some money from selling books, although, i cannot say how much if any. She wrote many books which were published in her lifetime. However, no matter how poor or streched her fellowship was for money, it was apparently unthinkable to ask people for money to her. She believed that she should ask God to provide the monies neccesary and He aparently always did. There are amazing stories of Amy needing a certain amount to buy a piece of land for her overflowing nursuries, or needing a certain amount to buy a child out from the temple and in the cases mentioned (which are numerous and probably incomplete) the money always arrived. Usually in the sort of way which rules out the causality of prayer (i.e. I pray today for money that arrives tomorrow, but must have been sent weeks ago to make it to India from England) and yet demonstrates the soverignty of God. Those who are skeptical will thumb their nose and say that as improbable as it might be (for someone, on multiple occasions to recieve something that was prayed for which would not normally be recieved) it doesn't mean that there is a God who listens to our prayers. They may even try to say that it should be perfectly normal. Which unfortunaly might be something that is a matter of faith that is only understood from within.
Everyone has some kind of faith as we have established before. No one could belive much of anything if they only belived what they empirically tested themselves. Some argue that its not fair that Jesus doesn't make himself as manifest to us as the computer screen you are looking at when, after all, it is totally within his power to do so. I say he did make himself manifest about 2000 years ago. Then it is argued "why not now? why not to me?" To that I don't have much of an answer except that 1) that's not how God seems to interact with us, and 2) why should he?
(here i note that "because he could" is not a good answer)
I also hear people say "how can you believe the "miraculous" claims of the bible that you cannot verify? I say I believe the ones I cannot verify because of the many that I can verify. Its very similar to the way a person can believe a scientific claim that someone makes but cannot verify. Like evolution or black holes or dark matter etc. (by the way, did you know that the generally accepted model for our universe is that its composed of 74% dark energy, 22% dark matter, and only 4% ordinary matter-- and the reason that the majority of unknowns are called "dark" is because they are mysterious, unknown, and so far undetectable--{they may not even exist})
I'm asked "how can you accpet the claims of the bible on faith alone?" I answer, how can you reject the claims of the bible on faith alone? I should not be surprised to find out that many who reject the bible know very little about it from their own experience. They have heard anecdotes and not much more. And yet if i tell them its a life or death decision with eternal consequences, they don't seem to care enough to investigate.
These are some of the things that I have been thinking about for the last few weeks. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts or rebuttals, or not.
I promise nothing in the way of more regular posting.

This made someone think of me...

Friday, July 21, 2006

This is my 301st post!

only 14028 more to go! Look. Im a sharer. When I enjoy a movie or a book, I want to share it with others. Sometimes forcefully. Future posts will represent this claim as I am reading a book about the life of Amy Carmichal. Its called "a chance to die" and if you get a chance you should pick one up. She is so great.
But that's not what i want to share right now. I have been buried under TUNL (my place of work) for the last two week (arguably all summer). and what do I have to show for it? well... this. That is a tiny tiny minor publication of what I have been working on. When i say tiny. I mean, it shows up in a "TUNL progress report". So don't get all congratulatory or anything. I am required to justify my existance with this... and its not much. Anyway, i just wanted to share and to find out what my little blogging comminity thought about my work.

Monday, July 17, 2006


better than nothing. Here I am stuck at work. Its 10:30ish. There are a lot of things I would like to write about. Its hard to get up the motivation. Plus, I would need a lot more time than I have to collect my thoughts. I feel like I get only a few moments in front of the ol' computer here but not long enough to expound. Here's an idea, i'll put it to you. the singular viewer. (ok maybe there like 5 of you) what would you like me to post about? Let me take a minute and try to give you some options... later
you give me some in the mean time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

the details.

Thank you for your thoughts prayers and well wishes. Matt left a general note for his friends in which he explained the reasons for his decision to end his life. The letter seems to capture some of matt's essence. It is written in a intelegent, thought out, generally upbeat tone, but expresses his fear, pain and loss of hope. It was perhaps matt's candid nature that betrayed the deapth of his pain. His pain was physical, psycological and spiritual. He feared gaining worldly success at the cost of being alone. He feared turning into his father. He lost hope that his pain would end in this life. He did not believe that he could endure it any longer. It pains me to think that there could be people in my community with such a burden that I might shy away from trying to share. But we all shared matt's burden as much as he would let us.
A short time after matt's death, I began to think of some other people in my life that I know have struggled with depression, or fear, or lonliness. I pray that I will have the means to reach out to them. That they would know that they are not alone. Below I have attached a sermon my pastor gave at the funeral of his brother in law after he had committed suicide. Matt was a believer. A professing, baptized christian. And a sinner. Like all Christians.
A word on beliver suicide.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Please... [UPDATED]

Pray, if you pray, for my friend Matt Cress. He nearly died yesterday from swallowing a bunch of chemicals. Matt suffers from depression and chronic pain. He used to be my roommate and often talked about suicidal thoughts. I haven't seen him in a while, and I have heard this story second hand, so I don't know all the details, but I know that he and his family are in a lot of pain right now, and they could use some support.

Matt was declared brain dead around noon yesterday. He was taken off of life support several hours later. I saw him at about 2pm. What lay there on the bed seemed to be Matt, but was just the shell for his conciousness. My breath seemed to leave me as the resperators moved his lungs. Its still not clear why matt did this, at least to me. It seems more clear that he had planned this for a little while, and that nothing along the way swayed him. His mother and father were both very strong throughout, comforting friends and family members. God seems to give more grace to those who need it. Continue to pray for matt's community. This will hurt for a while.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the complete works of fire.

What I saw on July fourth was good, but the book was better.

Monday, July 03, 2006

a funny thing happend today...

As I arrived at work this (ahem) morning(?), my odometer uncerimoniously showed 6660 miles. Someone had parked their motorcycle as to block the ususal resting place of my own, and in the new hassle of finding a new space I left my key in the ignition while the day went on. Around 1:30 I was talking to a friend about the incident and I discovered the key in the bike in the 'on' position. The bike now had a dead battery. I jumped the bike and rode it home where it seemed to start without too much dificulty and so we are back to where we started except I'll probably get a new battery as soon as I can. Coindidence? or sign of the apocolypse? you decide.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

what's a fella to do?

to those of you who have enjoyed all the many months that I have posted on this blog:
I am sorry. I have been deliquent. The truth is that I sit here at my computer with absolutly nothing interetsting to say. You may say " that's never stopped you before!" to which I say "screw you.". But petty bickering aside, There is not much going on in my life of great interetst to the masses, nor worth my time to write about. Nor is there any topic of interest that I have the will-power to bring up at the moment. I get on the computer, check my email, check three online comics (achewood, Dr. McNinja, and The Perry Bible Fellowship) Check the Onion, Check Drudge, Check my email again, Check a few blogs and then spend the rest of my day figuring out why I keep doing this day after day. I want to have like 2 or 4 weeks off of the internet. Then I might actually spend a half hour reading something new at these websites. At least the onion updates with a new story daily now.
And like I said, its not that I don't have topics that I'd love to discuss, its just that I don't have the energy to bring them up. They will be challenged becase I didn't explain them in great enough detail and some comment I made in passing will be used to destroy my argument. All of which could be taken care of in 10 seconds if you and I were having a conversation, but it will require 18 blog posts to finally agree to disagree. All could have been avoided had you only heard the inflection of my voice.
will i give up blogging? probably not. Im just admitting defeat for the moment. I have been worn down by the general refusal of mankind not to rush to judgement, and not to give the benefit of the doubt. to purposefully read someone's words in the most negative way possible instead of trying to understand what they mean and where they are coming from.
Its that conversation you have with someone that seems to be going somewhere until you say "All i'm saying, is that...." and the person responds with "I hear what you are saying but, What i'm saying is ...." . I mean, you can basically write off the conversation right there. The two have reached a point where they have refused to listen to each other and yet continue to make thier own points as if the person will come around.
Thats all blogging is. Its those conversations that don't go anywhere without the benefit of an actual voice or a facial expression.
anyway, I didn't mean for this to go on for so long. Im sure I'll post on something soon. blah blah blah.