Friday, December 12, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different...

A renowned philosopher was held in high regard by his driver, who listened in awe at every speech while his boss would easily answer questions about morality and ethics.

Then one day the driver approached the philosopher and asked if he was willing to switch roles for the evening's lecture. The philosopher agreed and, for a while, the driver handled himself remarkably well. When it came time for questions from the guests, a woman in the back asked, "Is the epistemological view of the universe still valid in an existentialist world?"

"That is an extremely simple question," he responded. "So simple, in fact, that even my driver could answer that, which is exactly what he will do."

Photo by Stephen Vandervort

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Confession of Faith

So, on Thursday I blogged about an open letter than had been written concerning the Nazarene Article of Faith on scripture. Apparently an anonymous (and presumably atheist) reader of my blog didn't appreciate this, saying that:

"The problem is, you still think that some guy died, and three days later hopped back-up like a guru, wall-walking zombie. Furthermore, you think that this zombie guy's take on life 2000 years ago, long before science was even dreamt of, should somehow be trusted today. 'Oh, he's God!' You'll still say, just like the fundamentalist you decry. But you only believe that because you read it in the magic book. So now who is using circular reasoning? Geesh--liberal Christians are still stupid, it's just their island of stupidity is a bit smaller than their fundamentalist cro-mag neighbors."

So, in the interest of not being a "
guy [who] believes religious fantasy for reasons he won't reveal ON HIS OWN BLOG", I will blog on the reasons why I am a confessing believer in the Christian faith.

There are several reasons I choose to believe the confessions of the Christian faith, such as that Jesus Christ was divine and that he died and was resurrected three days later. Honestly, the reasons I believe are not in any way driven by reason. They can be shown to be supportable by reason, but I didn't dispassionately assess criteria and then after weighing all the pros and cons of both sides of the argument come to the most reasonable and justifiable conclusion. The reasons I came to faith are emotive. I can offer defense against arguments against Christianity all day long, but they are not the reasons I believe. The reason I have faith is that I feel the weight of my sins, and I believe that Jesus Christ can forgive them and offer me a way of life that is better than what I could have without him.

Anonymous, if that isn't good enough for you, feel free to raise questions concerning the validity of Christian beliefs, and I'd be more than willing to answer them to the best of my ability.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Concerning Doctrine

In my wanderings across this vast wasteland known as the internet, I stumbled across something attacking not only my denomination's beliefs on Scripture, but personally naming my university as responsible for what he deemed to be a "seed of heresy". You can read this "Open Letter Concerning the Authority of Scriptures" in its entirety here, but the basis of his argument is a problem with the Nazarene Manual's doctrine on Scripture:

"We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith."

This basically means that while we believe that entirety of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired word of God, that inspiration was interpreted by human beings, and as such is possibly subject to some degree of fallibility, except in the matter of salvation. So, to make a long statement short: If it will save your soul, then it's infallible. Otherwise, it need not be necessarily 100% accurate.

Mr. McDonald (the writer of this letter) believes that this position on scripture is not strong enough, and that scripture (supported in his letter by quoting scripture) is entirely infallible. After all, "God is perfect in all His works, in regards to anything. He did not even allow a man's interpretation, will, or opinion to enter His Word."

As a solution to the problem of our scriptural heresy, MacDonald offers this as alternative to our current doctrine: "Scripture, being found as eternally inerrent and inspired of God, is veracious and authoritative concerning every aspect of physical and spiritual existence. The Bible has been provided as our only completely truthful standard of theology, ethics, science, history, and every other realm into which its limitless grasp extends."


"O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to ushe who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." (Psalm 137:8-9)

"When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it." (Joshua 8:24)

"While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses." (Numbers 15:32-36)


"He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." (Psalm 104:5)

"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?" (Job 38:22-23)

"What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?" (Job 38:24)

"Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?" (Job 38:35)

So, I leave the choice to you, dear reader, as to whether you want to be believe that scripture might be wrong in the areas of science, and that the bloodlust of the Israelites may have occasionally taken things too far, or whether you want to believe that God condones baby crushing, snow is kept in storehouses in the sky, the earth has a foundation, and God talks to lightning bolts. Your choice.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Paradox of Relativism and Nihilism

Relativism and Nihilism are two philosophical systems that seem to have at least some prevalence in our postmodern world. Although I'm sure not all would agree with how I will be defining them since they are words that contain a plethora of meaning for various individuals, I use the word "relativism" as a philosophical system in which there are no absolutes and criteria is assessed by means of cultural and situational factors. I will use the word "nihilism" as a philosophical system in which all values are baseless and nothing can be known or communicated. These two systems fascinate me in their ability to absolutely deny the existence of absolutes.

Take relativism, for example. Relativists deny the existence of absolutes. But, think about this claim for a moment. In the denial of absolutes, you have created an absolute, for you have claimed that there are absolutely no absolutes. In less, of course, you meant that there are only no absolutes in certain contexts, which makes even less sense.

Then, of course, there's nihilism. Nihilists deny the existence of values and our ability to communicate with one another. As for the first claim (the denial of the existence of values), I wonder what sort of value Nihilists assess nihilism as being, for they certainly seem to hold the value of the denial of values, and the value of the denial of our ability to communicate with one another. Then there is the second claim (the denial of our ability to communicate with one another). Nihilism is a belief commonly held and expressed by multiple individuals. I'm not sure how the first nihilist communicated their nihilism to the second, but they apparently did, proving nihilism to be false. If we weren't able to communicate with one another, then I would not be able to even know what nihilism is. Since I have heard of nihilism, nihilism proves itself to be false.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Literal vs. Metaphorical: The Inanity of the Po-Mo

Tonight at church I was talking to someone about the interpretation of Genesis. I proceeded to complement the person on a lesson they had preached where they avoided categorizing the interpretation of Genesis as either literal or metaphorical. This then led to an argument about one of the inane and nauseating details about narrative theology: the ability of its proponents to talk circles around an issue without ever actually getting to the point.

This person told me that the interpretation of Genesis should be neither metaphorical nor literal. Now, I don't claim to know everything, but to me the word metaphorical and the word literal are two words which could be used to describe the entirety of language. Here are the definitions for "metaphor" and "literal", respectively, as provided by Random House: metaphor: a "figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance." literal: "in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical." So, metaphor is defined as something not to be taken literally, and literal is something which is not metaphorical.

I kindly pointed out this objection to the person, who told me that the way in which I had set up this problem meant that the metaphorical interpretation of Genesis meant that the story was incorrect. However, because it was a story (i.e. metaphor) it need not be true or false.

So, there I was left to wonder whether what this person had told me was a metaphor, literal, or neither.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Children Are a Superstitious and Cowardly Lot

I was working in children's church this morning, and it made me think about the nature of morality. I wondered whether or not our morality is a decision in which we choose to do the right thing, or whether we simply conform to the standards of society out of fear of retribution.

For some children, it is obvious that they are simply as "good" as they have to be not to get in trouble. They don't particularly care to listen to what I have to say, and they are constantly trying to undermine my authority.

For instance, a common occurrence this morning were several variances of the same exchange: Me: "Don't do X". (Let X be some activity which the children are not supposed to do) The children then proceed to do X. Me: "What did I just say?" Them: "Don't do X." Me: "What are you doing?" Them: "X".

It is not, in this case, a matter of not knowing the good and therefore committing a sin of omission or ignorance. This is willful transgression of a known law. But, there are others who are content to follow my instructions and behave as I have requested. And I wonder as I wander whether those who behave have committed themselves to do good, or whether they simply fear whatever retribution I might bring down upon them.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Behold! I Give You...The Jesutron

The next and final new theology that I have been a founding member of during my time here at SNU is one of many controversies and heresies.

It all began one day in Philosophy of Religion when we were discussing the idea of resurrection apart from the idea of souls. The problem was, if all we are is simply matter, then how does one account for continuity of identity, since other human beings have been comprised of the same atoms that you are. My solution to this problem was that we would all be resurrected in one body composed of all the atoms ever contained within righteous human beings, and since this would include Christ, this body would be divine. At the end times he would rise up and battle all the atoms of the wicked and Satan, gathered together into the entity known as Beelzebot. The name of this deity was to be known as...

And here we come to the controversy. As the founding profit of this religion, I declared (and maintain to have declared) this entity to be known as Jesutron. However, other blasphemers in the class have challenged me on this matter, stating that the deity in question was known as Christatron. I attempted to reconcile these blasphemies, declaring both to be one and the same. However, the followers of Christatron would not accept this, declaring the Jesutron to be an abomination. It was then that Jesutron revealed to me (since I am the one and only true prophet of his will) that they were blasphemers and heretics, and for their crimes they would burn in the fires of Beelzebot's colon for all eternity. Accepting the will of Jesutron, the faithful and I have broken communion with the followers of Christatron, yet daily pray for their salvation from the fiery pits of Beelzebot's colon.

So, without further ado, I give you Jesutron, Beelzebot, and the false deity Christatron (or Antichristatron, as he is also known).

Thus concludes my segment on new religious ideas discovered at SNU.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'Cause You're A God And I Am Not, And I Just Thought That You Would Know

I've decided to do a three-part series on the many new theologies I have created since my arrival at SNU. Part one, of course, was yesterday's blog on the ninja trinity and the pirate satanic trinity. Part two is about a god whom has revealed herself to my roommate and I. This goddess is the deity of homework, Scholastica. Glory be her name. As you look upon her icon, join with me in the reciting of the prayer of the goddess Scholastica:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Ultimate Argument for the Superiority of Ninjas to Pirates

I don't often pay a lot of attention in a certain class that I have. Usually I doodle, or keep track of how many times the professor says things that he often repeats. One day he was talking about the resurrection, and how Jesus appeared to people behind locked doors, and vanished without a trace, and that was when it hit me: resurrected Jesus was a ninja. So, I created a doodle of such in my notebook. This of course led me to the logical conclusion that the rest of the trinity were ninjistu as well, leading me to create the Ninja Trinity. And, if the Godhead were ninjitsu, this led me to the logical conclusion that the antithesis of these three, the Satanic false trinity of the book of Revelation were none other than pirates! So, for your amusement, I have created all six of these beings at this site in full-color glory. Why I have chosen Karl Barth as the false prophet is another story for another day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wise Men Ne'er Sit And Wail Their Loss But Cheerly Seek How To Redress Their Harms

I now wander with a little less wisdom, for on Thursday I had two of my wisdom teeth removed. However, as a substitute, God has seen fit to grant me Percocet, the inability to eat much of anything solid, and a general weariness. Luckily, this has been a weekend that has not been very demanding of me, and as such I have been able to take it very easy, with a wonderful woman by my side to nurse my wounds. So, my advice to you is to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow may bring difficulty in the performance of all three tasks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All Sects Are Different, Because They Come From Men; Morality is Everywhere the Same, Because It Comes from God

In my wanderings today, I would like to address an issue of morality. I follow a blog entitled Flying in Circles (even though I don't typically agree with their viewpoints), and they have a problem with a morality where we help others not on the basis of the fact that they are our fellow human beings, but only because Jesus wants us to help others. She makes the following statement:

"Can we not simply work to redeem this world in the name of morality? Organizations like Compassion and World Vision are primarily supported by churchgoing, Bible-toting Christians who feel that by donating a small amount of their paycheck to a needy child, whom they will never meet, every month they have done their duty to "feed [his] sheep." [John 21:17 NIV] [Oh my God, look! Daedalus just quoted scripture!?] I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with trying to do some good in Jesus' name [Lord knows the world could stand to have a few more people doing such], but why must we summon Jesus to the scene every time there is a situation that needs attention? Why can one person not help another, without summoning forth the divine, based entirely on the fact that they breathe the same air you do? I know this is a tangential issue, but come on people! We're humans first."

However, there is a problem with this line of thinking. If morality does not come from something outside of ourselves, then there is no basis for judging one system of morality over another. We can dismiss things because we disagree, we can urge others to cohere to our particular system of morality, but we cannot ultimately declare acts to be "right" or "wrong", because apart from some sort of higher power, morality becomes merely a conglomeration of issues of aesthetics, anthropology, and pragmatism.

Even if I wanted to make the claim that the Holocaust was absolutely morally wrong, I could not do so if there were not some means by which morality was decided apart from individual preference. A Nazi ethic would certainly declare the Holocaust to be just and good. If the moral values of tolerance and acceptance could not be shown to be in some way superior to the Nazi "virtues" of ethnic purity and destruction of the Jewish people, then there is no basis for judging the Holocaust to be either good or bad. The only way this can be achieved is with an appeal to a higher power.

p.s. Bonus points if you can tell me who is quoted in the title of this blog.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Wizard Needs Food Badly

"A married couple was having some difficulty, so they decided to go see a couple's therapist. The therapist send the husband and the wife to different rooms, and he told them both to think carefully about the words 'sex' and 'love' and to write a sentence about the connection of these two things in their relationship. After 15 minutes the therapist called the husband and wife back together, and asked them to share what they had written. The wife wrote the following sentence: 'When my husband and I first met, we fell passionately in love. After spending several years together and making the commitment of marriage, we decided we were finally ready to have sex.' 'What a beautiful sentiment', the therapist said. Then the therapist asked the husband to share his sentence. The husband wrote the following sentence: 'I love sex.'

I don't know if I'll ever understand women. The funny thing is, I'm willing to spend the rest of my life trying. I'm not sure if that makes me a sadist or a fool, but God help me, I can't live without them.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I've Got My Memories Always Inside of Me, But I Can't Go Back to How It Was

Apparently not many of those of you read this are fans of Stoic Philosophy, so let's try something else.

Family (an appropriate topic considering it is All Saint's Day) and Home are both words which carry lots of different meanings for lots of different people. For me, family doesn't have to include people who share your genetic code, but I do think that there has be some link of commonality in the relational bonds which tie us to those we consider to be "brothers" or "sisters" or "mothers" or "fathers", otherwise, their wouldn't be any reason for such labels to be used. Home fore me also does not simply mean the place where you are currently living, but carries the implication of the place where you feel most comfortable. The people I call family are certainly not all related to me (and there are some people who are related to me who I certainly wouldn't call family). In the past four years, not all of the places I have been living have been home. But, especially in college, family and home both become very fluid concepts.

Nowadays, when I make the long and arduous 45-minute trek to the house that my parents live in, it certainly doesn't feel like home (although they do feel like family). I feel welcome, I feel the warm embrace of hospitality, and I certainly feel like I am among friends and loved ones. However, I don't feel like I am home. I merely feel as though I am a guest in the home of someone else. A welcome guest, who can make himself "at home", but it's not my home. Not anymore.

This same feeling somewhat applies to the members of my more extended family. They feel more and more like acquaintances. Perhaps this has something to do with my tendency to maintain some level of emotional distance from even close friends due to past feelings of betrayal or abandonment, but perhaps not.

I've reached the point in my life where I will never be home again until I have created a home of my own, and to some extent the same applies to family. And as I stare into the abyss of adulthood, the abyss stares also into me. Or something like that.

So, I pose to you, o faithful reader, a two-pronged question: How do you define family and home?

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

God Has Entrusted Me With Myself

I feel really crappy. I'm sure there are some reasons, but for the most part I have no idea why. Just in a really glum mood. When times like this come, I wonder what my response should be. I tend to be a pretty stoic person, so let's try a little bit of that. Here are some random samplings of quotes by Epictetus, the father of the philosophical school known as Stoicism.

"Difficulties show men what they are. In case of any difficulty remember that God has pitted you against a rough antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil." ~Epictetus

"Do not seek to bring things to pass in accordance with your wishes, but wish for them as they are, and you will find them." ~Epictetus

No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen." ~Epictetus

Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the world." ~Epictetus

The funny thing is, I wasn't expecting that to make me feel better. But it did. Weird, huh?

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Hope the Prince of Peace is Coming Soon

Today, in my wanderings, I have found my way to the topic of non-violence. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to avoid all violent confrontation, or to violently lash out against oppression, that is the question.

I do believe that violent reaction against systems of oppression creates violent reactions from systems of oppression, locking us into a cycle of violence that is both undesirable and impossible to break with violence, but at the same time, I have difficulty whole-heartedly embracing the philosophical system of pacifism. While I don't believe in pre-meditated killing in any form, even that of capital punishment, I do believe that sometimes violent and even regrettably lethal force is necessary in the defense of things that should not simply be allowed to die. The funny thing is, I don't believe in the use of violence in self-defense, but I would be willing to kill if necessary for the people that I love, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. The following are some quotes on the subjects of violence and pacifism that I thought might provide some interesting food for thought.

"It's not the bullet with my name on it that worries me. It's the one that says 'To whom it may concern.'" ~Anonymous Belfast resident, quoted in London Guardian, 1991

"Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived." ~Abraham Lincoln

"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." ~Gandhi

"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster." ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” ~George Orwell

“Violence isn't always evil. What's evil is the infatuation with violence.” ~Jim Morrison

“The pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and to humanity as is the most brutal wrongdoer.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

For now, I leave the question in the hands of you, dear reader: what are your feelings about pacifism and the nature of violence in general?

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

She Sees Love Where Anyone Else Would See Weeds

I've been contemplating the nature of love lately, and as food for thought, I've taken the liberty of collecting some quotes on love from one of my favorite theologians, C.S. Lewis. Let me know which one (or ones) in particular strikes you, and why.

"Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."

"This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted."

"Why love if losing hurts so much? We love to know that we are not alone."

"Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal."

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one. Not even an animal. Wrap it carefully with hobbies and luxuries, avoid all entanglements and keep it safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in the casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable".

The quote with the greatest impact on me is the last one. In order to be able to love, we must open our hearts to the possibility of being hurt, much as God did when he decided to create beings with free will. In so doing, he created simultaneously the potential for insurmountable love and monumental pain. In this world, we cannot experience love without the high probability of pain.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Monday, October 6, 2008

No Man is an Aslan

Hello, world. I am back with another blog post. No more of that awful poetry (I don't know who writes that garbage). I should be doing homework, and yet here I am rambling about the inane goings on of my life. The last few days have consisted of little more than wasted time and long, hard work. Sleep deprivation has taken away most of my rationality, and as such I am little more than a typing troglodyte. This week has had its ups and downs (from spending quality time with my favorite associate pastor to blundering right into a fight with my girlfriend), and right now I'm just trying to make it to Fall Break.

What's that? You want profundity? Oh, fine. I was reading from The Shack today, an excellent book thus far (I'm about 2/3 of the way through), and Jesus was discussing with the main character the nature of the relationship between men and women:

Jesus: "The world is broken because in Eden you abandoned relationship with us to assert your own independence. Most men have expressed it by turning to the work of their hands and the sweat of their brow to find their identity, value, and security. By choosing to declare what's good and evil you seek to determine your own destiny. It's this turning that has caused so much pain... But that isn't all. The woman's desire...was not to the works of her hands but to the man, and his response was to rule 'over' her, to take power over her, to become the ruler. Before the choosing she found her identity, her security, and her understanding of good and evil only in me, as did man."

Mack: "No wonder I feel like a failure with [my wife]. I can't seem to be that for her."

Jesus: "You weren't made to be. And in trying, you'll only be playing God."

What strikes me about this passage is the juxtaposition of the identity of man. Men have been taught by the men who came before us that to be a man is to be independent; to be capable of handling any task without the help of others. We are conquerors and warriors, and warriors do not feel fear or inadequacy. We see the shortcoming of our own fathers, and learn to distrust other men. We almost become the alpha wolves of our own minds, fearful of showing weakness in case others are plotting against us. We are pillars of strength, and we are merely play acting at being God, hoping that no one notices the frightened little boy behind the curtain.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lovers' Requiem

I take you in my arms, and we leap into the air,

Breaking the shackles of gravity and physics.

We soar into the night as you shiver and hold me tight,

Resting your head softly upon my chest.

We fly farther and higher than man ought dare;

Higher than Icarus’ flight into foolishness.

And suddenly, we are high above all we’ve known,

We stand on a ceiling of clouds, beyond this mortal realm.

Our lips touch, ever so softly, afraid this isn’t real,

And we lose ourselves in the moment,

Lost in the ecstasy of our deep-abiding love;

We lose ourselves in an ocean of joy and devotion.

And then, as suddenly as this enigmatic dream began,

We find ourselves rushing back toward the earth,

Not in a deadly fall, but wafting gently, as a feather.

We awaken and the dream is over: our lips part.

And I find myself back where I began: embracing you.

Then I breathe in the beauteous rhapsody of our tryst.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

All Hail Mother Church and the Parishioner's Utopia

I've been thinking lately about the nature of relationship. Something my "postmodern, postliberal, postchurch, postpost" friends often place a high emphasis on in the life of the Christian believer is community, i.e. relationship. Some might try and play a semantics game and tell me that relationship and community aren't the same thing. Please, don't be one of those people. I often find myself wondering as I wander whether I believe that to be a fully fuctional human being I have to be communal, and on good days, I do. However, there are a lot of times that I find my experience of reality doesn't seem to map anyone else's. I worry this might be due to psychological factors in my family history, but I also worry that perhaps there is no community for me. I do not mean that I feel reject from the communion of Christian faith and fellowship, but I do feel as though I have little common ground with the rest of humanity, and I know that historically I am not the only one who has felt such intuitions. Writers like Soren Kierkegaard and Henry David Thoreau often questioned the validity of needing others to experience God. While I do believe there are drawbacks to such a system, I must admit it has a certain appeal. Perhaps I feel isolated, perhaps I grow weary of the shortcomings of other people (I am not speaking of anyone or anything in specific; I speak merely in vague generalizations). The answers seem unclear. For now, I will simply continue to wonder as I wander.
“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Your Lovely Lighting Up My Eyes

What follows is quite possibly the most incoherent worship song I have ever heard. If you enjoy this song, I sincerely apologize for both my comments about it and for your lack of taste.

Artist: Rock 'N Roll Worship Circus
Song: A Beautiful Glow

Everyday I've lived alone from You
Separated from the Love I knew
And no one else can tell me how to feel
'Cuz there has never been
A love more real - than anyone but You...

So come on, come on and open me,
There's A Beautiful Glow for You to see
(You're livin' in a heart made for me
to shine through shine through me)

With Your glory spinning in my mind
And Your lovely lighting up my eyes
I have never known a Love so true
And I could never give my heart away to
Anyone but You
To anyone but You...
And all I have is all I am in You
(All I am is all I have in You)
And all I have is all I am in You
(All I am is all I have)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Abyss

I stand upon a precipice, prolific and daunting,

Staring down into the abyss below,

And all I’ve ever wanted to do is jump:

To dive into the unknown with both feet.

Long and often I’ve stared into this crevice,

And the result is always the same:

I rationalize and walk away, plunge untaken,

And wonder why I could not jump.

Perhaps I fear that it will not measure up,

That the romance is greater than reality felt.

Or, perhaps I cannot truly let myself go,

Embracing the freefall into the mysterious.

So I come, day after day, to stare into the abyss,

And I wonder what might lie ahead.

But perhaps I shall never truly experience

The reality of visions that dance in my head.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Not All Who Wander Are Lost...But Maybe I Am

I've been thinking a lot lately about the issue of personal identity. To ask the trite and overused proverbial question: "Who Am I?" And I find that the answer is often a bundle of contradictions. Who I am is both light-hearted and stoic; poetic and analytical; right and wrong; a loner who longs to be with people, and a shameful conformist. When I think about who I am, my biggest concern is that I might never know.

Self-reference is a sticky wicket, and often quite biased. I'm not sure we can consciously avoid seeing ourselves not as we are, but as we think we are. This may be by believing that we are a worse or better person than we might be in actuality, but ultimately brings about the same result: we cannot self-referentially know who we are.

However, the same problem arises in relying on the accounts of others to know who we are. Other people may certainly be able to offer important insight into who we are in spite of who we believe ourselves to be, but they do not know our thoughts or intentions, and therefore receive an incomplete analysis of who we are. This ultimately brings about the same result: we cannot know who we are simply from the testimony of the others.

Some sort of synthesis is required, but the problem is that we are unsure how to balance our own personal experiences of who we are with the testimony of others. Ultimately, regardless of who we are at this exact moment, our identities are in a constant state of flux and change, especially in a culture so adept at personal re-invention. It seems that we must turn to the words of existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: "As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become...Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have." We are still becoming who we are.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008