Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vaccination of Pain and Suffering

Perhaps pain and suffering and evil are allowed because it's like a vaccination to a child. We allow them to suffer violence against their very person while we stand by to comfort. They are horrified that their loving parent allows, even encourages and arranges such evil for them; pain, injecting poison, terrifying them, making them feel bad afterward, all the time insisting it's for their eventual good.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Wonder What's Coming

My new job training involves reading and assimilating a lot of information that gets quite complicated (to me). I was already prepared for the overwhelmed feeling that comes with a new job, the one where you wonder what you thought you were doing when you accepted it. Once you start using the information and procedures, it isn't nearly so bad, it all becomes second nature. But this job seemed a bit much for a while, until I reminded myself of a couple of things:

1) I detest calling or visiting a company for information and end up with people who
have no clue how to do their job.
2) Scripture tells me to do all things "heartily", as to the Lord and not for men.

Both these thoughts helped a great deal. I determined that I will put as much effort as necessary into learning all the extra details that ensure customers and clients get what they need. I know I have the ability to do the work, I'm just becoming so mentally lazy! Use it or lose it, right? Isn't that how we're made? Do I really want to look in the face of my creator and say, "It was just so much trouble to think"? Not particularly. There are many people in this world who struggle because they can't understand things; I usually can so shouldn't I put effort into helping those who need help?

Really, I have a healthy body, a decent intellect, enough money, healthy and happy children and grandchildren...then God opened my eyes to realize there truly is another dimension of life and that's it's real! I doubt He's blessed me so much so that I can hide in my home getting fat, smug, and arrogant, hoarding my blessings and being pleased with life. I get the feeling He's preparing me again...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ever Present Search for Utopia

Fascinating ideas on Brain Stimulant about time perception, slowing down our perception of time until it seems we are close to eternal, then the possibility of replacing our biological neurons with artificial ones to achieve a close-to-constant perception of happiness. Is THIS to be "heaven on earth"? (The link to the latter - utopian neuroscience - is in the time post.) I suppose all those whose happiness and thrills depend on pain and suffering of others would be reprogrammed to be worthwhile humans.

I assume everyone wants a utopia but I don't actually know people who claim to want one. Most of the emphasis seems to be on surviving at at least some level of contentment - have we given up? Seriously lowered our expectations? Are we only hoping to avoid the worst of annoyance, pain, and suffering?

I suppose I can imagine a few people I know who might be ready and willing to line up for a quick fix of constant eternal incredible happiness. I'm not sure about myself, if it's artificial, I don't know that I want it. But what would make it more real? If it's all biological perception, that may be all there IS to happiness. Maybe the bliss God offers is the re-creation of our minds to where we live in a state of mindless electrochemically induced fascination. Or is it that what we have now is a state of electrochemically polluted dissatisfaction?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In His Image and How Can He Care?

At church long ago, I watched a short video presentation about the universe. They started closeup on earth then drew farther and farther back. These were images or animations from the viewpoint of satellites and spacecraft and such. There was narration throughout pointing out how small we are in the scheme of things of the universe. One arresting image (to me) was this tiny dust mote caught in a beam of sunlight - it was earth caught in a photo shot from a satellite!

The point was to be amazed and thrilled that as insignificant as we seem to be from what may be thought of as God's perspective, He still loves us.
It had the opposite effect on me. Instead of being all goopy and grateful, it struck me as absurd that anyone from that perspective would spend any particular time or attention on something so insignificant. What, is God THAT bored?!

That image of a dust mote being earth made me imagine what I would think if I was vacuuming and a little dust MITE was able to get my attention and started crying out how much it loved me and wanted to "do my will." My will? What would my will be concerning a dust mite? Just go about your dust mite business, eat germs or bacteria or whatever you do. Assuming I was its god, its creator, I would know what it does. I don't know that they eat bacteria but if so, and that's why I made them, what else would I want them to do? What should I make of one who rose up to ask for the chance to do something mighty "for" me or "in my name"?

Of course, there is a difference. Our scripture tells us we are made in His image. It doesn't say we are the only things made in His image but that does seem to be the point of its being stated. I need to really meditate long and deeply on exactly what that means and what it implies. Do other religions understand this to be true? That we are made in the image of the Almighty, with a special destiny and opportunity not necessarily afforded other creatures?

Monday, May 5, 2008


I've always taken exception to hearing that worry is wrong. That's not to say I don't see where it comes from, I've read Matthew 6, verses 30-34:

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Doesn't that seem clear? But that's not the only reason for worry. Doesn't He say He will work all things out for our good? What about the little child who goes to school a few weeks and then worries that his parents will continue to make him attend even after he tells them he hates it. It's for his good, he may be old enough to believe and almost understand that but he's still worried that it will happen.
Jesus certainly seemed worried about what was going to happen to him. He understood that it would be worth it but still worried that there would be no way out of it. He accepted it when he realized there wasn't.
What if your character needs a particular trial? Maybe my real problem is not with the word worry so much as with it not allowing for dread.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Isn't Anything Too Trivial For God?

Am I allowed to experiment? Should I be past that point and just accept it; is it (backtracking/regressing) to consider doing this again?

I'm considering an experiment because I just have so much trouble believing the Holy Almighty God is helping me find trivial things. Again tonight - I was looking for a book I needed for my son's work next week and just couldn't find it anywhere. I'm starting a new job and really needed to get all his work together right away, so it was important but certainly not life or death. When I searched the large bookshelf and still couldn't find it, I prayed, "Lord I know this is small but I DO need this and quickly. It's such a small thing but I know you've done it often before. So please help me find this book." I was standing there for a moment thinking about the implications of praying for such a thing, then took a breath and lifted my head..and stared right at the book. Wry grin and a thank you.

So. What is this all about? If He does things like this, why are other things undone? I understand that people are allowed to suffer, I don't like it but it makes sense to me. Some of it. Usually. So why would He be helping me with such small things, daily life trivialities? My experiment will be to keep count of when I find things without prayer and the times I pray but still don't find what I was looking for. Not that it will always have to be something I can't find, I'm not THAT disorganized, but at least things I need. I want to find what the difference is. Am I not noticing when it's coincidence? Or when things fall apart? Is it that things fall apart in a way that needed to be? Did something come out of it that was meant for good?

Obviously that IS what's going on but I want to get some specifics.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hebrew? Japanese? Where should study stop?

My son and his friend are going to learn Japanese. As much fun as that will be learning a language so different in all ways from our own, I'm wondering now why I didn't push Hebrew a little harder. Maybe it's because I have a bit of experience with Japanese - a tiny little, meaningless bit - and I have plenty of material for them to work from.

But Hebrew might come in handy, I've wished to know it at times because I want to go back to original Hebrew for bible study. So far, I have to depend on what others claim things mean. This is quite difficult when people say the same word proves two opposite doctrines! Then the issue of modern vs. ancient comes up; languages evolve quite drastically over time. I can easily imagine myself getting so caught up in studying the nuances of every little detail and missing the main point. Prayer and communication with the Almighty is the most important thing. Even if I were able indulge in a life dedicated to studying - Hebrew, Bible, physics, ancient cultures as relevant to scriptural understanding, biology - where would that take me? Every new scrap of knowledge obtained leads to realizing how little it means without the whole picture. And I don't think one lifetime is enough to ever piece together the whole picture.

Guess I'll be studying Japanese, at least I know it's fun!