Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creativity

Creativity is one thing that can come from any place and requires only thought and imagination. So, how could that effect USA? Creativity is valued. People will pay for it. Now, How much?  It seems to depend on how much the creation impacts the user. Disney's stories impacted millions by providing a physical representation of an ideal. That impacts people who are looking to have emotional needs met. I'm thinking about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If someone needs are physical, they are going to spend their resources on those needs. If they have the resources to meet their physical needs, they will want emotional, then spiritual fulfillment. However, even starving peope a  need love.  There must be some overlap.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In the airport

Corned beef on rye for dinner. 2 hours in Chicago's O'Hare airport is just about long enough to sit and people watch. The airport now has free wi-fi and there are laptops out everywhere. On the plane from Manchester, I watched Brian Greene talk about super-string theory. Stephen Hawken did a presentation on expanding universe...He thinks offering alien-abduction insurance is a better bet than us humans making it another thousand years without being aliens ourselves. Then Jane Goodall talked about how much animals are like us and we are being beastly to our world. All this was on my iPhone via podcasts from TED. Wow! What an amazing world. Now my flight to San Francisco is oversold. What a world.

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Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Literal Bible Question

I did the church survey the other day and one of the questions caught my eye. It was the one about the Bible. I looked at two answers, 1) that it is the actual Word of God and should be taken literally, and 2) it is the inspired Word of God and may have some humanly introduced "errors." (or something like that.)

I struggled with this question because my personal point of view as of now is that it is the actual Word of God, but that not everything is meant to be taken literally. If Jesus, God as man, was prone to teach in parables, why not expect the rest of God's Word to have some allegories as well? E.g., creation. One has to interpret the first day as not a literal day, since before the earth and sun were created it would be hard to define a day. Compare that to having faith like a mustard seed...if we take that as literally as many take the creation story, we'd have to either alter our definition of faith, so a vegetable could have it, or we'd have to raise our estimate of plant intelligence. :-)

Paul's point about thinking like children comes to mind. Mary pointed out to me that we tell children stories to help them understand things, like Santa Claus is a giving spirit and joyful. Then when they are more ready to understand the abstract concepts, the stories keep their relevance, but are not taken as "fact" anymore.

Jim

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I believe...

I believe there is God. God is outside of the world we can know and He created the universe as we know it. In this world He is omnipotent and omniscient. He knows each person, loves each person down to the number of hairs on our head or the most passing thoughts that even we may not notice. In creating theworld, He built in rules, or laws, that affect how things work. This world is a transient place for us. While we arehere, we are bound by these rules. We are here to make a choice. The choice is whether or not to love God. WWe each face the challenges that God knows will lead us to a coomplete understanding of that choice and allow us to make it for eternity. God created us as companions for Himself. To be true companions, we must choose to be with him. Time is a rule in this world that God created to help with the choice. God and Heaven are outside time. He sees the past, present, and future all as present. I believe in ghosts, or spirits, that exist alongside us, but ar enot usually percieved by us. Just as there are angels, there are daemons. Ghosts are niether, but maybe sould that have not made their decision. God leads us each in a way that enables us to make our decision. He also works through us to help others make their decision. Sometimes, accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is the beginning of a long journey. Sometimes, it is the end. It is through the daily choices tha we truly choose. If we turn our back on Him, are we still saved? I don't believe that is a question I can answer for someone else. I don't think that is a question I can ask for myself. If I can reflect enough to ask it, I must make the choice again. An eternal choice is only as good as its last temporal expression. We never know when that last chance will come. A choice is made not is not made by just saying yes or no. Saved by faith alone or by works is a redundant question. If you have faith, you will do the works God asks of you. What those works are and how well you do them is a matter between each person and God. What is faith but believing God is alive and Jesus is Lord. What is a lord, but someone we owe alligience. Where He leads, we must follow. Pick up your cross and follow Him, He said. Following is works; Faith is works. God will never ask us to do something we cannot accomplish. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Of course, we may not know what it is God is asking us to do. He could be asking David to go out and slay Goliath, or He could be asking him to go out and give up his life. That sounds scary, but it could be the last chance we have to say yes to God for ever. How can I not say Yes and follow Him whereever He leads me. God is beyond good and evil. Nietzsche was right about how life works. He said we should forget about all the mundane rules for rules sake we have set up. We should get up and go for that which is Life enhancing. Neither Jesus nor Nietzsche said not to pay taxes. Pay the taxes because you have the power todo so. With God we have all the power we will ever need to do the things He asks of us. Give to the tax man and to the poor because it is right and because you can. God will refill you to your needs and theirs. Have faith in God. If you can't pay your taxes abd God hold back the money, then He has a reason for it. He may want you to help someone in jail, or maybe you need to look at how you are prioritizing money, God, and others. In anycase, say yes to God. When God gives you abundance, as He did with Job, then praise Him, thank Him, and pass it along. We know what God wants by listening to Him. We listen when we pray. We listen when we're watching the news and a voice tells you someone should do something about this or that and you think maybe you could. Normally I snap right out of that by telling myself I am too busy, or someone else could do it better. We listen when people ask for help, or when they don't, but we are aware of their need. We listen to the desires He puts in our hearts. Do we love playing with kids? Do we love talking to elders? Do we have a special knack for listening, or talking, or writing? Sometimes we listen and say yes too much. We drain ourselves. It is OK to say no to some things. Jesus did. He would walk away from the crowds who wanted Him to heal them or feed them spiritually or physically. We can advise or support someone else. Maybe God wants someone else to do something, and they want to pass it along. Say no. If we listen and are true and choose without fear, then we will usually be right. Besides, God forgives us if we make a mistake.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Good vs. Evil?

I was just watching a PBS show "The Question of God." The forum was locked or so big it didn't seem worth posting there, so here I am. Jeremy Fraiberg: Hold on — this free will argument is really flawed in a number of ways. First of all, free will addressed only the third of the list of three things that Freud listed as being sources of pain — namely, the things that people do to other people. It says nothing at all about the decay of our bodies — people suffer horrible diseases, terrible pain, that has nothing to do with free will. Natural disasters, earthquakes, volcanoes, what does that have to do with free will? I think we're missing what pain is. Pain is not evil, it is a natural thing. Pain informs us there is something causing damage to our body. Diseases may possibly be a result of our not understanding what our body needs. What if disease attacks our system successfully because we have not treated our body as well as possible. I had a friend who had prostate cancer which is a terrible disease. By changing what he put into his system physically and the way he directed energy through his body, he or his body, was healed. Maybe it is practically impossible for us to treat our bodies well enough to prevent all disease, but the point is that disease is an imperfection, not an evil causing pain just to cause pain. Point is, perhaps there is some choice we, or those taking care of us, are making, even completely unaware, that opens the door for the potiential of disease. THIS IS NOT TO GIVE ANYONE BLAME FOR DISEASE! I know someone might say that this is completely wrong because we're not responsible for the diseases that kill our children or we catch ourselves. I know that it is important for some to absolve everyone of all responsibility, and I will reiterate that no one could be expected to make "all the right choices." In fact, I would apologize for saying this and take it back except as an abstract point of argument. Anyway, I would say that disease and "natural disasters" may cause pain, but are not evil. What we call natural disasters are really nature balancing out itself but we get in the way. Hurricanes have been blowing across the seas and lands for a lot longer than we have built cabanas in Florida. Now we have moved into that area and there is a conflict, which causes pain. This is not evil, it is cause and effect. Jeremy Fraiberg: How can you believe in a Christian God when there are things in this world like little girls getting abducted, sexually tortured repeatedly and then hacked up into pieces. That just happened in Toronto, where I come from. I mean, this is unspeakably evil. And awful. And how could a good God let that happen? I can really get in trouble here by suggesting that God doesn't let these things happen, we do. We let this happen by not caring for the little boy or girl that is hurt and grows up to hurt someone else. If every "Christian" went out and helped other people like Jesus said we should, just maybe we could put a cap on child abuse or gangs or lawyers (just kidding; but maybe we wouldn't need nearly as many lawyers.) Why should we blame God for hurting people? Why not blame ourselves? If you do not believe in God, who do you blame? Do you think these things "just happen?" I think there is a cause for every effect. I think we should decide to hold ourselves accountable for our lack of action. God acts through us as we choose to act. That's free will and why there is "evil."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Senator Durbin was right!

I think this was a either a travesty of political frenzy or there are a lot of obtuse senators and journalists. Senator Durbin said that if the FBI report was accurate, the mistreatment of detainees could have happened in detention centers of some of the world's worst regimes. Let's say people were/are getting beaten in Gitmo, for the sake of the argument. Someone comes and says "I was detained and beaten." What's the difference between being beaten by Americans or Russians? Were people beaten and tortured in gulags? Are people beaten and tortured in Gitmo? Of course, you can say the difference is that in gulags people were beaten before they were frozen or starved. That hasn't happened in Gitmo, yet, as far as we know. That's the point! We have to be sure we hold the line for human rights and humane treatment of detainees. The cry that the people in the US armed services were being insulted is hogwash. I was in the Marine Corps. I am proud of my service. I also know that not everyone in the service is destined to be sainted for their pre-service life. Some people join to serve their country, and others join to stay out of jail, or get away from bad home situations, or for the image of power (these are the ones who regularly read Soldier of Fortune in the squad bay.) It isn't hard to imagine these people not internally knowing how to deal with some of the pressures that guarding detainees can present. If you look at the Stanford study, you know anyone can be seduced by the power that guards possess. I'm not condeming anyone who is in this situation. IO said it could happen to anyone, even me perhaps. But we cannot turn a blind eye to the possibility it happens, and if it happens we need to get those people help and out of the situation. Stop the bleeding, stablize the patient, right? Who do we Americans think we are that we could never stoop to the levels that Germans did in the 1930s and 40s? Were all those people so bad? Normal people can do unnormal things under stressfull circumstances. Think about the danger to their country the Germans were facing in the 30s. They were economic problems and people were afraid they would be facing starvation and anarchy. Now, in our War against Terror, what are we afraid of? Physical attacks and possible disruption of our government infrastructures, which to me seems even more scary...maybe. So what makes us think we are so much better than other peoples in the past? We need to be diligent to be sure "Patriots" don't start beating people to protect our Fatherland. We have to stand tall and take some knocks because we can and because the alternatives are not part of our stand for justice and goodness. Captain Kirk knew this. We will always be at a disadvantage in tactics because we stand for the Might of Right, not the right of might.