Monday, February 23, 2009

When Truth Becomes a Matter of Life and Death

C. S. Lewis wrote, "You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." He wrote his for a different reason than what my reason currently is. But, his first: Lewis had just suffered the death of his wife, Helen Joy. He was really struggling with the grief and how to relate to God at the time. He was questioning his beliefs about God. He wasn't doubting God's existence, but what kind of God there is. Lewis during that time ranted that God is sadistic and gives us little joy in a trap to make us distraught and despairing in the end. This statement was made because he was really making that faith he had all the more real by challenging it. It had become a matter of life and death for him, because it was so challenged.I feel myself going through a moment where the truth or falsehood of my faith is a matter of life and death. I am kind of struggling with it right now. I do believe in God. I do believe in Jesus Christ. I just don't know how much right now: how much I believe, how much I trust, how much He's real. I also don't know how real He is. Some of this is due to my own "rebellion" but also to honest doubt.

I went to a lecture by Dr. Francisco Ayala and he pointed out what kind of God we would have if we go with an ID standpoint. I'll just say that one point he made about what this creator would look like troubles me. How many animals have suffered and died as a result of the natural functions and instincts of other animals? Much pain has been inflicted and if God created and guides the creation, then He could almost be accused of sadism and infinite abuse. We despised Michael Vick for pitting pit bulls against each other Lions rip apart their prey. Sharks cause much pain to their prey (except for whale sharks). What about all the diseases that have arisen and inflicted much pain on human and animal alike? So, I don't know how to answer that. This did not make me disbelieve in God. His point of view on the relationship of science and religion is not appealing to me (seems more like a schizophrenic culture of thought). But, that challenge is still there.

This isn't the only reason for my difficulties. I'm struggling to make any effort to do much, let alone my relationship with God. I'm struggling to care. Not about life, but the things of life. I love my life. I feel simultaneously confident and low at the same time though. I'm worried about the outcomes of upcoming events (end of the certificate program, end of Amanda's mom's academy time, etc.). And when May comes, who knows if I will be able to find a job? I don't want to work at Starbucks forever (it's a great place, just not my career ideal obviously). I also have loans coming to term. I still live with my parents and I'm in major debt. None of these things do I feel all that confident about the results or where I am currently. It sucks. And I'm trying to find how out how it's all going to work out. God seems to have left me in a suffering but not out economy. If I believe truly, He has led me into a field that I am not sure I will be qualified for or find a job in (as zoos aren't doing as well as they once have). Is God there? Is He watching? Does He care to lend a hand? Give me strength? I am so stressed about everything (including current class projects).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Darwin!!! Plus the Wonderfulness of the Body (of Christ)

Yes, today is February 12th making it Darwin's 200th birthday. In 1809 Charles Robert Darwin was born and when he turned 50, he wrote the work that would eventually change the mindset of western society with regards to origins. Does that mean everyone agrees with it? Not at all. It is still very controversial still today. Which by the way means that this year will be the sesquicentennial anniversary of The Origin of Species. So, wherever you are, Mr. Darwin (and I hope that I will see you in paradise though it doesn't look likely), happy birthday.

That being out of the way, now I can cover what I think it of ultimate importance. On Tuesday night, I was driving to Duluth with Amanda. A piece of trim rusted out and came off of my car, but not before slicing the tire causing it to shred the outer layer. Luckily, we were only a couple miles from an exit, so I drove up to that exit. We stopped at a gas station first only to find it closed. And Amanda really REALLY needed to go to to the bathroom. So, we stopped by a church that had its lights on. There were some cars in the parking lot, so we knew some people were there. She went up and knocked on the door (as the doors were locked). Someone let her in. Amanda told someone of our predicament and out comes Chris, the youth leader of the church (Harris Evangelical Covenant). He comes out and we attempt to get the tire off. However, there is a bolt with a weird grove in it that requires a special tool to get it out. Using the advice of my dad, we used two screwdrivers to finally get it out. We then proceeded to remove the lugnuts. However, one proved especially difficult. We couldn't get the wrench to wrap around it properly. The wrench proceeded to break. This sent Chris on a long search to find a wrench in another car. However, most of the people there didn't have one in their cars!!! The one we did find did not fit. Chris also had called another guy who goes to the church, Bill, to come out and help. He had a set of tools for the occasion. He was able to loosen the last lugnut and we were able to get the tire off and the new one on. My thanks go out to all the people who lent their keys to Chris for he and I to hunt for another wrench and especially to Chris and Bill who were a very, very big blessing to Amanda and me. I was so proud to be a Christian and to find brothers and sisters so willing and able to help was such a huge testament to me of the power of Christ still in the Church. I really needed that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Randomness

I have to be honest that I didn't know what I was going to write on here before I wrote it. I just felt the need to write. Perhaps on an internet blog isn't the best place, but opening up some thoughts could be therapeutic.

I have no idea where my life is heading. I live with my parents. I'm 25 years old. I've been in school all but 5 years of my life. I'm kind of tired of it and I am ready to actually go out and make a living. And yet I am also scared of the opportunity. Does that make me weak? Am I less of a man?

I have so much stuff I want to read but don't feel the motivation to do so. I have this sense that if there is work to be done for class, then there is no time for free reading. However, I am also a procrastinator. Darn these personality quirks!!!

I wish I wasn't so lazy and had more will power. I guess that relates to the previous thing but I also mean that in life in general, especially when it comes to my faith. I pray for patience, but I can't deal with the pressure of it when God gives me the opportunity for growing in patience. Or, perhaps I have grown in patience but do not recognize it.

I feel as though I'm in some sort of spiritual adolescence. I know that many people say that we never really grow out of that in some ways, but I really feel as though I am. I know I am growing, but at the same time I feel the need to rebel because I do not understand the changes in me. It makes me kind of chuckle thinking about it. Good thing God can take insults hurled at Him better than earthly parents can :).

I don't think the Cubs will win the World Series this year. Call it a hunch. They've blown their chances with great talent in the minors and have troubles developing it into major league talent. And the ones we do develop, we trade away. We are going the way of the "immediate satisfaction." Since when do the Cubs need to do that? Is there any pressing now that it's been a century? Don't sign a bunch of older guys to piece together a team!! If anything the Rays taught us from last year is that you don't need big time talent. You need a team! That's why the Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2000. Sure, they make the playoffs most years, but they never win the World Series. The Rays didn't either, but dang if they won the AL East with it. And to be fair, the Phillies were red hot in the playoffs with terrific pitching and a deep lineup. The Phillies also had good team chemistry. That's what helps you win. (i.e. I hope Felix Pie stars on the Orioles and makes the Cubs regret what they've lost.)

I can't wait to see the new Star Trek movie. I know that classic Trekkers will probably denounce this as Trekkie Heresy, but I like the fact that J. J. Abrams decided to reinvent the Star Trek franchise and use the young talent of today. I was initially bothered by the fact that they went back in time...yet again. But, I think it was the right way to go now that I've seen the previews and the casting done. I will say that nobody has seen the movie, so who knows how it really turns out? That being said, it was still a nice attempt by Abrams to rejuvenate the franchise and get the younger people interested. My brother has already said he wants to see it and he's not a Trekkie by any means.

Do you think God laughed when He created the platypus line of organisms? It's like He thought, "I'm going to put this hodgepodge creature together and let thinking beings go, 'What the...?' I'm going to soupe this thing up with an electrosensory bill, a food pouch (aka cupholders for animals), a poisonous spike, and for fun--a beaver-like tail though I haven't created beavers yet...I'll get to that later. Those will be funny too. Oooh and those will dam water sources and live in little stick-made housings..." Nature can be funny.

Do you think God laughed when the Royals franchise entered the MLB?

Chase is a funny dog. He's my sister's German shepherd/puggle mix. He's so awkward but intelligent. And he's also very mischevious. He's like a nerdy Matt Damon of dogs (Good Will Hunting reference for those of you who do not know).

Well, enough random thoughts for now. I have to actually do something today. Amazing, eh? Hope whoever reads this (Amanda, Keith, maybe Angela?), has a great day!

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Poem from My Period of Doubt "Coward"

This is a poem I wrote when I was 21 and going through a period of personal doubt about faith.

Coward

The man knows
Neither strength nor conviction
For his ways are weak
And shift as the sand
In the midst of the tide.
He believes in much
But holds tightly to little.
As to his conviction
He holds nothing long
For fear that one day
That will be washed away.
Strong feelings for his fellow human
He holds not
For fear of failing them.
Better for that man to die
Than to live in this existence
But that is too much mercy
To be wasted upon the coward.