Meditation

Uh oh, there I had an interesting conversation today. A Hindu friend asked if I meditate. We have talked about various “religious” things before. For instance, she’s very impressed that I read my holy scriptures and even meet with others to study them. She doesn’t do that, though she has always been meaning to. When she asked if I meditate, a few red flags were raised. The first flag is the topic of Christian meditation: do I even know what that means? Another flag is the difference between Christian meditation and eastern meditation. I thank the Holy Spirit for navigating me through the conversation: both flags were addressed. When I meditate, I consider God, who He is, His nature and being, what He has done in the world, what He has done in my life, what He has done in the lives of those around me, His works past, present and even future, what God prefers and decrees, and what He has said. I consider, contemplate, focus my mind on. She was surprised that I think so much in my mediation. She talked about chakra meditation which she said improves the functioning of “energy centers” in our body. I explained that when I meditate, I am more interested in focusing on God than improving my personal well-being. I think that gave her food for thought. Humorously, she was also surprised that I meditate on the bus. She needs total silence when meditating, but I explained that when I meditate, it’s a lot like working on a puzzle: I consider all the factors and turn them around. If the puzzle...

We’re wired for Fanboydom?

Interesting article today.  An intro quote: We’ve all encountered [fanboys]. They lurk in Internet message boards, comment threads, and chatrooms. Addressing anyone and everyone, they type up lengthy tirades with Cheeto-stained fingers, extolling the virtues of their product or brand of choice. They angrily accuse even the most impartial reviewers of taking handouts from reviled competitors of a beloved company, and they casually and systematically dismiss any evidence that might conflict with their worldview. The article delves into some interesting research over the past few decades about how we make choices and then develop an irrational bias toward the choice. Their conclusion: …the truth seems to be that we’re all born irrational fanboys—every single one of us. Slashdot sums it up:  “We’re all hard-wired to be fanboys, it seems.”  The article made a brief excursion into vapid speculative evolutionary psychology which was worthless.  Also, I reject the notion that we’re deterministic robots “wired” to do what our programming demands.  (Granted, the article mentions how “[t]heir brains have automatically and unconsciously re-wired themselves to view their product of choice as markedly superior,” something robots can’t do, although I wouldn’t call it the reductive “brain” doing that but rather the mind.) But anyway, that article got me thinking.  What place has fanboydom among those that follow Jesus Christ?  I’m reminded of the “God-shaped hole” metaphor, how there is a “God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man,” as Pascal wrote, where man, apart from God, will attempt to fill it with anything he can, nothing ultimately fitting, nothing ultimately satisfying.  Apart from God, is fanboydom a manifestation of this?  Where we...

Pride versus humility in serving and being served

Humility is a slippery thing to grasp, no? My natural inclination several years ago was to deny being served, thinking myself humble by not wasting the service of others.  (How noble of me!)  I found later that this is Pride:  I am the superman who can do it all, who needs no help from anyone. In the last few years God has shown me the beauty of servant-hood, serving others.  Jesus himself provides a powerful example of this by stooping down low and washing the nasty, stinking feet of his disciples (John 13).  I love serving others, and have been intentional about letting others serve me. Today, in a social setting, my friend asked me if I was done eating some snacks, pointing to my empty plate.  What an excellent opportunity to allow others to serve me, I thought!  I told her I was done.  Before I could formulate “thank you” on my lips, she said the trash can is in the kitchen.  Wait, what just happened there?  How did Pride sneak in there again?! I think God isn’t done with me yet. I hope that’s a humble admission of need and not a prideful admission of “God’s working on me, how about you?!” Pride, you’re almost too sneaky! When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. —Proverbs...

Uncontacted group of natives found deep in Amazon

Fascinating that there are still groups of people being discovered who have not connected with the global population yet.  Read more on The Guardian. My first thought was missions-based:  will they hear about the Gospel?  Then I read in The Guardian: Among the main threats to the well-being of these groups are illegal fishing, hunting, logging, mining, cattle ranching, missionary actions… and drug trafficking Really?  Missionary actions will have a negative impact on their well-being?  What are your...

Osama bin Laden and Truth Claims of Christ Risen

Today, President Obama declared that Obama bin Laden is dead.  I believe him.  Why?  Because nobody in their right mind would declare to be true that which can be proven false so easily.  Radical Islamists have an interest in making America look the fool and would be quick to show the President wrong.  They have no interest in letting America declare victory.  Therefore, I believe the President. Consider the claims of Jesus’ disciples in the years following the crucifixion.  In the months and years following Jesus’ death, his disciples were claiming he was alive.  I believe them because nobody in their right mind would declare to be true what can so easily be proven false.  The religious leaders had a keen interest in stamping out the Christians.  All they had to do to stop the Christians was to produce Jesus’ body.  Since they did not we can only conclude they could not. Why couldn’t they?  Here are two options:  A group of discouraged and untrained fishermen overpowered a squad of Roman guards, rolled away the stone, and took the body.  Add to that every one of them (save one) died a martyr’s death for refusing to renounce a known lie.  Or two:  there was no body to produce. I am unable to deny the resurrection.  To do so requires to great a leap of blind, credulous faith for me to manage. Post adapted from...