Friday, October 27, 2017

P4E.271 Entitled Lives



We must constantly remind ourselves that we are not entitled to lives without:

Annoyances
Misunderstandings
Disagreements
Setbacks
Mistakes
Fear
Sadness
Unfaithfulness
Failure
False accusations
Unfairness
Rejection
Hostility
Cruelty
Injustice
Prejudice
Abuse
Harassment
Poverty
Discomfort
Pain
Injury
Illness
Death

In America, we may have laws that punish those who practice some of them, but the reality is that we are not exempt from experiencing them.

The challenge is that we must live amongst ourselves in community with other human kind. Although we have tremendous capacity for good, we also have a natural tendency toward selfishness, greed, jealousy, pride, and lust.

When we encounter the things that upset us, those circumstances bring about opportunities to develop positive character qualities and pursue our capacity for good.

We have a real propensity to make a bad situation worse; to match and even escalate the negativity that comes our way. But, in our better moments, we can exercise self-control and practice grace and forgiveness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness.

Let’s do good.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

P4E.270 It's A Very, Very Mad World



There are no situations or circumstances in the world right now that wouldn’t be helped by a whole lot of Jesus. I don’t mean we need more church or more worship music. I don’t mean we need a revival or more religion or evangelism or fundamentalism. I don’t mean the Jesus invoked by some or rejected by others.

Who we need is the man who is the Son of God. The Jesus we need is the Prince of Peace. He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save the world. He warned us not to condemn so that we would not be condemned.  The Jesus I’m talking about encourages us to love God and to love each other; to treat each other in the way that we would like to be treated. He told us to forgive, so that we would receive forgiveness. He blessed the merciful and exemplifies justice and mercy and faithfulness.

This Man is a raconteur and asks more questions than He gives answers.  He is a true, righteous, faithful friend. Jesus is the Light of the World and in Him there is no darkness. He is the Rock that we can stand on when there’s shifting sand all around. And Jesus is our Shelter from the storm. He is our Help and our Salvation.

What the world needs now is Love, Sweet Love. And that is exactly what Jesus is: Love. We who know Him need to represent Him well right now, by exhibiting all of His qualities to our fullest. After all, He is our Good Shepherd and we should follow Him and His voice. Peace unto you.

Monday, June 5, 2017

P4E.269 Dark Matter


The intersection of science and religion has always interested me. An exchange between CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and his guest Brian Greene, a week ago (May 28, 2017), really caught my attention.

Fareed Zakaria introduced Brian Greene as “one of today's foremost scientists, a master of super-string theory, the host of Nova shows and the co-founder of the World Science Festival, which kicks off this week in New York City.”

Here’s a part of the transcript of the show:
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ZAKARIA: …for example, I'll give you one that even I struggle with, dark matter.

GREENE: Yeah.

ZAKARIA: I just don't understand it. It's one of these things where you're told, "OK, most of the universe is actually made up of dark matter, and we can't see it; we can't touch it; we can't feel it; we don't know, kind of, know what it does and we don't know why it exists."

GREENE: Yeah.

ZAKARIA: So what am I to make of that?

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Well, that's actually a thrilling idea, if you can wrap your mind around it. So you mind spending 30 seconds on dark matter, just for the heck of it?

ZAKARIA: Yeah.

GREENE: So when we observe galaxies, we find that they're spinning around at such a rate that stars on the edge should be flung outward, sort of, like water droplets on a bicycle wheel that's spinning fast. The water gets flung out. But the stars aren't getting flung out. Something must be holding them in. We don't see anything that can do that. But we know gravity has the power to hold things together. So we imagine that maybe there's some matter out there that we don't see, dark matter -- that's why we don't see it; it doesn't give off light -- and that matter is exerting a gravitational pull, holding those stars together in these spinning galaxies.

And when we make that hypothesis, it explains observations so spectacularly well that we begin to gain confidence that maybe the stuff that we haven't yet seen and we haven't yet touched or smelled yet, maybe it's real. So we build big detectors and we try to capture one of the dark matter particles. We haven't succeed yet, but I think that we will.

So this is a beautiful example of how observations drive rational thinking to explain the facts and ultimately verify it through observation and experiment that can be replicated. That is what science is. And that is what can get your heart pounding, when you realize that the human intellect can figure out things about the universe that you wouldn't expect, based on casual observation.
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What caught my attention was that a foremost scientist found it a thrilling idea that “maybe the stuff that we haven't yet seen and we haven't yet touched or smelled yet, maybe it's real.” (italics and underline mine)

I rarely quote Scripture in response to situations such as these, but this seems to relate so concretely to the subject at hand, that I can’t help but point it out. Speaking of God, Paul says in Colossians 1:16-17

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible… all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (italics and underline mine)

It’s also very interesting to me that scientists have chosen to call this unseen phenomenon, “dark matter.” Another related phenomenon is called a “black hole.” On the other hand, God is light (I John 1:5). John 3:19 says, “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light…”

I believe that science and religion will ultimately be resolved. We now have in common that both scientists and Christians believe in things unseen. I find that for me, rather than dark matter and black holes, it’s easier and a much more comforting, enjoyable, stretch of the imagination to believe in the unseen personal, loving, Creator God.

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

P4E.268 Hypocrite


I had a conversation with my wife, Gwen, yesterday. At a certain point, Gwen posed the question, "If you believe that, then why do you act the way you do?"

It's a fair question. I don't think I'm alone in my hypocrisy (although maybe I am). Why do men (and here I AM purposely posing the question about men, but women are welcome to voice their opinion) think/believe one way and act another? I have my theories, but I wonder what you think?

How is it that we can set aside heartfelt beliefs, intellectually thought through ideas, values that we hold dear, and think act and speak things that are detrimental to our own well-being?

Why do we do things that we know are bad for us? How can we be so inconsistent? What causes us to be so hypocritical? Am I the only one?