I’m Back!

So I find myself in the midst of finals week with a whole day with very little to do.  And upon finally tiring of facebook, I was shocked to discover my blog is still floating around out there!  Which I suppose makes sense, seeing as I never took action to take it down, but you might note that I haven’t posted since 2008.  That’s my senior year of high school.  I’ve changed quite a bit since then, and yet at the same time find myself struggling with many of the same things: for starters a solid helping of fear, and a  heap of selfishness.

I’m thinking a lot today about what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  He is decidedly against empty actions, so my usual striving for approval, which works so well in school, will not apply here.  I relate a lot to the “blind Pharisees” that Jesus so often rebukes.  Read Matthew 23, you’ll get a good picture of what goes on in my head sometimes.  I too want a list of things to do for the Lord, maybe an assignment with a deadline, specific and easy tasks that will make people think that I’m really spiritual.  But bear with me, check out what God actually wants, and how much more beautiful it is:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  We love, because He first loved us.  If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

— 1 John 4:7-21

This passage is just so amazing.  How awesome is it that the creator of the universe can love us so much, we who can never do anything for Him.  And He does not demand actions of us, but only asks that we in turn to Him in faith and to each other in love, because his character is such that learning how to truly practice self sacrificing love can bring us closer to Him.  It’s all about love.

Which brings me back to my fear and selfishness.  How can I ever be able to wholeheartedly love anyone more than I love being safe and comfortable?  My roommate quotes me saying “I’d rather think of myself as retarded than heartless,” because I find myself having such a hard time remembering names, yet really have little problem in my college classes, and I’d love to say it’s some kind of disorder.  But actually it’s just proof that I don’t care about people.

All in all, in the three years since I’ve blogged, I have changed quite a bit, mostly due to my friends in the body of Christ who helped break me out of my shell and have inspired me to even want to care about anyone or risk being vulnerable with them.  But I find myself thinking today about just how very radical the love of the Lord is.  To really give up ourselves for the sake of another, like He did.  This seems an impossibly daunting task alone, as someone so heartless.  It is comforting then, to know that He is there to help us.  And in fact work through us, He who is love will help us to learn love.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

— 2 Corinthians 12:9

Anyway, that is where I am now, trying to learn how to love, and rely on the holy spirit who knows what He’s dong rather than on myself.  Perhaps I’ll blog again before three years go by and let you know how it goes. 😉

Christmas Anecdote

So, it’s Christmas.  Or at least, it was when I started writing this, I might write through midnight. 

Anyway, the whole Christmas story blows my mind by the very fact that Jesus did literally come to earth as a person.  Even if he never died for us, the fact that he lived for us, as a human, is pretty intense.  Because really, sometimes it seems like living your life for somebody else is way harder than just taking a bullet for them and being done with it. 

Plus, I don’t like being human, and I’ve never experianced being omnipotent.  I mean really, even just physically, forgetting the whole fallen, sin-nature thing,  people are gross and weak.  If I had the oppotunity to never have a bad hair day or never stub my toe on the damn coffee table I would totally take it.  But Jesus didn’t. 

And I was reminded of this book I read when I was younger, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, where this kid Charles Wallace had to go back in time with a unicorn and “go within” a bunch of people from history and try to change things and stop a nuclear war…its actually a slightly less gay book than I’m making it sound.    

But this one time he possesses a disabled guy, and it always reminds me of how Jesus came down as a human:

The Within-ing was long and agonizing, instead of immediate, as it had always been before.  Charles Wallace felt intolerable pain in his back, and a crushing of his legs.  He could hear himself screaming.  His body was being forced into another body, and at the same time something was struggling to pull him out.  He was being torn apart in a battle between two opposing forces.  Sun blazed, followed by a blizzard of snow, snow melted by raging fire, and violent flashings of lightning, driven by a mighty wind, which whipped across sea and land…

His body was gone and he was Within, Within a crippled body, the body of a young man with useless legs like a shriveled child’s…Matthew Maddox.  

  

some irony from my bio book

So, I read this part of my biology textbook a long time ago (its in chapter one so it must have been at the begingin of the year) and it cracked me up, so I thought I’d share.

Emergent properties are neither supernatural nor unique to life. We can see the importance of arrangement in the distinction between a box of bicycle parts and a working bicycle.

Its talking about living parts or systems that will not function if they are not together in a specific pattern: like how vein structures are useless without a heart and blood, or how flagelum will not move unless specific molecules are in a specific pattern and activated a certain way.  Since these parts do not function separately, natural selection would not have kept them around separately, nor can natural selection explain how even the small parts would arise spontaneously, so from a naturalistic world view these systems with emergent properties must have just appeared all at once.

The funny part is that their example for how this is not supernatural is a bicycle.  The last time I checked, if you leave a box of bicycle parts in your garage, they will not turn into a working bicycle.  They might rust by themselves, but unless an intellegent being puts them together, they will never function as a bicycle.

They’re other example in the following sentence was the emergent properties of the crystal structure of a diamond and how this is different from the non-structure of loose carbon atoms or coal.  They know how carbon atoms become diamonds (at least, I think “they  know the process), but I know that they don’t really know how life came to occur, which is immensely more complicated and also completely unrelated to diamonds.

Basically, It’s really hard to prove that a supernatural occurence is not supernatural.

  

Crime and Punishment

So, I’m sure most of you know I have homework stuffs to do this summer.  Or had, anyway.  There’s only like, less than 48 hours until school starts.  But I think I can finish it.  My essay is about 1/3 done, so I might have to bs the ending a little, but so far it’s turning out halfway decent.  Anyway, I wanted to blog my favorite part of Crime and Punishment, because even though i tried, I couldn’t get this whole quote to fit into my paper.  It would’ve taken up an entire page or several.

He dreamt that the whole world was condemned to a terrible new strange plague that had come to Europe from the depths of Asia.  All were to be destroyed except a very few chosen.  Some new sorts of microbes were attacking the bodies of men, but these microbes were endowed with intelligence and will.  Men attacked by them  became at once mad and furious.  But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible.  Whole villages, whole towns and peoples went mad from the infection.  All were excited and did not understand one another.  Each thought that he alone had the truth and was wretched looking at the others, beat himself on the breast and, wept, and wrung his hands.  They did not know how to judge and could not agree what to consider evil and what good; they did not know whom to blame, whom to justify.  Men killed each other in a sort of senseless spite.  They gathered armies against one another, but even on the march the armies wouls begin attacking each other, the ranks would be broken and the soldiers would fall on each other, stabbing and cutting, biting and devouring each other.  The alarm bell was ringing all day long in towns; men rushed together, but why they were summoned and who was summoning them no one knew.  The most ordinary trades were abandoned because everyone proposed his own ideas, his own improvements, and they could not agree.  The land too was abandoned.  Men met in groups, agreed on something, swore to keep together, but at once began on something quite different from what they had proposed.  They accused one another, fought and killed each other.  There were conflagrations and famine.  All men and all things were involved in destruction.  The plague spread and moved farther and farther.  Only a few men could be saved in the whole world.  They were a pure chosen people, destined to found a new race and a new life, to renew and purify the earth, but no one had seen these men, no one had heard their words and their voices.   

Ok, so it sound really trippy when out of context.  Very 28 Days Later.  But for real.  The main guy, who’s having this dream, Raskolnikov, has this idea that there are two types of people in the world: the great and powerful and awesome, and everybody else.  So then he decides that he is destined for greatness, and so no rules apply to him.  After all, didn’t Napoleon kill a bunch of people and mess up everything, but everybody loves him anyway?  Because he’s so flipping awesome?  So Raskolnikov is all contemptuous of everybody he encounters, which is really funny since he’s just a punk who who ran out of money to take classes at the university, and can’t even pay rent or anything.  So he kills a little old lady with an axe to get her money, and get started on his path to greatness.  That’s basically how the book goes.

I just thought this was a cool paragraph.  It’s like I said, a little tripped out, because Raskolnikov is basically delerious through most of the novel, but it’s totally him changing his mind and deciding that there are ne naturally “great” people (“no one had seen these men”) and that if everybody just decided that they were the shit, then everything would fall apart.  It’s like an anti-postmodern world.

Oh, I also had to read Native Son by Richard Wright, and it was really good.  You should read it.

Literary Philosphy

So, I’m reading A Farewell to Arms in my English class.  Actually, I was reading it just now, and then decided I’d rather blog about it than read it.

Because, let’s be honest, even good books kinda suck if you’re forced to read them, and A Farewell to Arms is not a good book.

I’m not saying it’s not mildly entertaining, or that I don’t see why it’s a classic, and I’m not one of those people that say they hate every book assigned for school just so they have something to complain about.  In fact, I love to read, everything, all the time, as those of you who know me have probably gathered, and I loved A Separate Peace, the book we just finished in class.  But A Farewell to Arms bothers me, and not just because of the weird sentence structure. 

The characters are just so lost, and they know it, but they just don’t care.  They’re totally ok with it.  Frederick and Catherine sleep together with no intention of marrying, unacceptable in WWI time period, but decide that it’s ok because they consider themselves married.  Frederick shoots a sergeant in the back as the man tries to desert the Italian army, but then deserts the army himself in the very next chapter, and has no guilt because he has arbitrarily decided that his actions are morally acceptable.  They give no thought to their unborn child, except to consider how much easier life would be without it.  Catherine forgets her past fiancé so shortly after his death, mourning him only long enough to consider cutting off her hair, and then hooks up with Frederick; reasoning that he doesn’t matter anymore: her fiancé is dead, in a final sort of way, since she absolutely rejects the possibility of an afterlife.  She feels she must live an animated, pleasurable life, according to her own rules, before dying herself. 

This, I’m told, fits into the philosophy of existentialism.  Which I found interesting, once I Wikipedia-ed it.  Sort of its own brand of atheism, existentialists believe only in existence.  According to whatever random guy in his basement edited this particular section of Wikipedia, “Existentialism generally postulates that the absence of a transcendent force (such as God) means that the individual is entirely free, and, therefore, ultimately responsible. It is up to humans to create an ethos of personal responsibility outside any branded belief system. In existentialist views, personal articulation of being is the only way to rise above humanity’s absurd condition of much suffering and inevitable death.”  So basically, they’ve noticed that without God there is no basis for morals, and people are just sad, hopeless little specks in eternity, random atoms pulled together by chance and here for only a ridiculously short time—but they don’t care.

That totally blew my mind.  I had never really thought about the consequences a Godless universe until Diana read Case for a Creator with me, but then when I did I was like “wow, atheists really haven’t thought this through, have they?”  But this is a group of people that have thoroughly considered that without a higher power there is no basis for morality, that people could do whatever will make them feel good until they die, and then have that be the end.  And, I repeat, they’re ok with that.  It’s crazy.

Anyway, I don’t really remember where else I was going with this blog.  I feel like there’s more I was going to say, but I don’t remember what it was.  Plus, it’s late I still have to finish like four more chapter of this stupid book for tomorrow, so I’m just gonna call this good enough.        

🙂