Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Friends who Challenge

The following was a statement from a friend of mine sent in an email. My response follows. I love friends who challenge us intellectually and this is one of my friends. Here's a shout out to them!

My initial comments:
I finished Angels & Demons and I liked it a lot. I'm a little bit cautious about Dan Brown (mainly over Da Vinci Code) because he takes just enough fact to make his books seem realistic which has been a huge source of controversy especially over the DaVinci Code book (which I haven't read yet, but will). I will have to re-read some parts of it again (Angels and Demons) because the first time through I just wanted to find out what happened, but he does have some very interesting discussions about science and religion. I would like to hear your thoughts on this as well.

A friend says:

I was thinking maybe Novel, by definition is not intentionally to be scientifically provable and correct. Isn't it a kind of art - art of the imagination of the author?

My response:

I wanted to respond right away, because I think you raise an interesting discussion about art and the Novel. I think art is powerful in that it reaches a part of us that we may not have known existed. It highlights emotions and thoughts and patterns of ourselves that we may not recognize in our daily routine so when we are confronted by it, we must stop and think and examine it; to see if there is truth there or not.

I have always loved reading fiction books and have learned many factual pieces of information from them that I may not have learned. So certain genres of fiction must have enough truth or fact in them to make them realistic/plausible enough. I think Dan Brown has researched extensively and then highlighted certain questions that make the book fascinating. Perhaps not scientifically provable but though provoking about real issues and real emotions (which by their nature are not satisfactorily proven through science alone). I don't think that Science can prove or explain everything.

For example, it can describe the chemical processes and brain patterns of love, but does that really explain what love is or the powerful effect it has in our lives. There is an intangible, ephemeral part of love that just is and no amount of science can explain it. Yet we know it exists and we believe that it is there. Religion is like this as well. There is only so much that science (any branch) can explain about community, need for belonging, power of prayer, existence of God. At some point, however, there is an element to faith that cannot be explained by science that must be captured or understood through some other mechanism.

It's like coming to a cliff where everything is tangible and able to be understood and comprehended and then stepping off and still find yourself standing in mid air. That is what faith is like.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head. I haven't really meditated on this so much. I appreciate your insights and questions and thoughts because they challenge me. There is much incomplete in what was said above, but this is something that never ends and the discussion continues forever :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

'Tis the Season...

...for feeling cranky, annoyed, sad, depressed, upset, sick, fat. So maybe that's how you are viewing the holidays. I can't say that I haven't been feeling like this the past couple of weeks already else I would be lying. I've felt this way in an ebb and flow kind of way. Some days are much better than others. There are a variety of reasons I've been feeling this way and maybe others are too. Relationships not working out the way you hope or expect, bad memories associated with the holidays, discontent with your current life or irritation with the commercialization of the holidays.

For me a big event is that six years ago, my mom passed away from cancer three days after Thanksgiving. This time of year just isn't all that great for me. The traditions that I loved and cherished are no longer being carried on instead new ways of celebrating that just don't have much meaning for me are now the norm. So there's not a whole lot to be excited about.

I do however have much to be thankful for and will certainly remember and mention and give thanks to the Lord above for all that He has done in my life, for my life and will do in and through me. Not because of anything I have done or am but all because of who He is and what He has done.

If you're having a rough time and just want January 2 to come faster than a blink of an eye, take heart and have faith that the God in heaven who created you is going to carry you through this time. Look to Him for reassurance and comfort and take joy in the simple pleasures He lets you have each day. It's not all bad, but don't beat yourself up if you're not singing from the rooftops.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


So my recent obsession has been Antarctica. I've been fascinated by the place and have wanted to get down that way for years now. Every once in a while I hear a story on NPR about some random person who gets to be the janitor or dish washer on the base in Antarctica. So last year I found out how to get hired by the company staffing the base. I plan on going to Colorado in the spring of 2006 for a job fair. I will not leave there without a job! Any job will do as long as it gets me on the ice.

A friend at work sent me the blog of a girl that he met through another friend. Anyway, she is currently at the bottom of the world working as the salad bar girl. It's a great blog and I hope to have something similar this time next year.

If I do make it down there (with additional plans to visit New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea) I will have hit all seven continents.

I want to go so bad I can taste it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Reading on the Road

One of my favorite biographies is about Oswald Chambers who is most famous for his devotional readings titled "My Utmost for His Highest". Chambers was an army chaplain during World War I and died while in Egypt. His wife eventually put together the devotional from all of the sermons he had preached that she had written down. Anyway, one thing that he did that really struck me was he would read books constantly. But he had a method - he would alternate a christian writer or topic with a book that dealt with science, philosophy, politics, etc. His reasoning was that to be taken seriously as a man (or woman) of faith, it was just as important to develop our intellectual capacity as it was to develop our spiritual one. This dual education could prove useful in interpreting the scripture in a modern world as well as engaging non-believers in conversation and earning their respect through our intellect first and then have the ability to share our faith. I think its also important to read works that you may disagree with to better understand the arguments that you may hear. Nothing like informed disagreement:) I love the idea of dual preparation and know that my pastor seems to feel the same way. You can check out his reading lists on his blog at www.evotional.com. I thought I would list just a couple of the books currently in my reading lineup. I would love to know what you are reading to develop yourself both spiritually and intellectually.

The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation by Thomas Merton
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
Famine, Conflict, and Response by Frederick Cuny
Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole by Dr. Jerri Nielsen
RX for Survival: Why we must rise to the global health challenge by Philip Hilts
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond