The Eye Rolling Soapbox of Facebook

I have a feeling of nostalgia when I look at the Facebook App on my phone.  It makes me think of the wonderful environment of interaction that Facebook offers; The ability to reacquaint and keep in touch with friends and family that are not in my locale.  Those days seem to be gone and have been replaced by the seemingly endless tirade of shared videos in the same spirit of Gaston rousing support to ‘kill the Beast!

It seems that everyone is very busy being offended.  In this light, I want to share with you a tongue-in-cheek way to be offended:

 

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A Parable by Útmutató a Léleknek – Do you believe in Mother?

This is a parable I stumbled upon written by Útmutató a Léleknek:

In a mother’s womb were two babies.  One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”. 

“Why of course.  There has to be something after delivery.  Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” 

“Nonsense” said the first.  “There is no life after delivery.  What kind of life would that be?” 

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here.  Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.  Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now”. 

The first replied, “That is absurd.  Walking is impossible and eating with our mouths?  Ridiculous!  The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need.  Because the umbilical cord is so short, life after delivery is logically impossible.” 

The second baby insists, “Well, I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here.  Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore”. 

The first replied, “Nonsense.  And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there?  Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion.  It delivers us nowhere.” 

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” 

The first replied, “Mother?  You actually believe in Mother?  That’s laughable.  If Mother exists then where is she now?” 

The second said, “She is all around us.  We are surrounded by Her.  We are of Her.  It is in Her that we live.  Without Her this world would not and could not exist for us.”

Said the first: “Well, I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”.

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence-and you focus-and you really listen-you CAN perceive Her presence and you CAN hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.” 

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The Design of Mathematics

In large part the study of mathematics relies on the definitions put forth and what may be sowed from their birth.  A mathematician is an artist that carefully weaves mathematical theory from the underlying definitions.  Hence, mathematics becomes similar to a language where we have certain rules that must be followed in order to construct comprehensive, precise, and unambiguous statements.

A mathematician can not simply state that a particular number is positive while treating it as a negative number.  They must follow certain rules regardless of their likes or dislikes.  For instance, in general, (x+y)^2 is not x^2 + y^2, much to the chagrin of many students!

The axioms of mathematics provide the backbone that all mathematics flows from.  I marvel at the incredible utility and ubiquity of mathematics in all areas of science.  I hope you share that sentiment. Nevertheless, why does mathematics work so well? Why is it so reliable in its descriptions?  Why is the universal language mathematics? In other words, why is the universe so darn mathematical?

My children love playing with legos, just as I did as a child (still do!). They love to build and create.  Ships, houses, vehicles, etc.  Mathematics is analogous to legos, in that, we build and create.  Indeed, both were created.  However, were both created by man?

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On A Mission

John Wesley throughout his life preached upwards of 40,000 sermons!  If he had only preached on Sunday mornings that would have taken roughly 769 years!  Of course, he did not live that long.  He lived shy of 88 years and his ministry covered 53 years.  That means he preached approximately 2 sermons a day!  Every day.  At the age of 83 he became angry with his doctor.  His doctor had suggested that John should not preach more than 14 times a week.  Maybe he should be slowing down, and at the age of 86 he penned in his diary that he worried that he was:

“Laziness is slowing creeping in.  There is an increasing tendency to stay in bed after 5:30 in the morning.”

John had a passion that drove him which was instilled by his changed life brought forth by the power of Jesus Christ.  That passion was fueled by the guidance of his mother.  

As a young boy he approached his mother with the question: “What is sin?”

His mother, a godly woman, instilled a vision of sin that stayed with John for the rest of his life with these words:

“John, listen to me carefully.  Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish of spiritual things, in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the spirit that is due to become sin, however good is in itself.”

 

Whatever increases that authority of your flesh, ultimately will rule over your life.  You will have sold yourself short to the fleeting passions of the day that you have concocted, warped to your pleasure, and adopted into your life, rather than finding the well-spring of true life where there are pleasures evermore.

 

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In the moment

“I am now handing out the exams, do not start until I tell you to do so.  Please keep the exams face down.  Please remove all items except pens, pencils, or erasers,” the professor states.  The students shuffle papers away and clear their desks.  They appear anxious to begin.

“It is now 8 o’clock, you may all begin.  You have till 8:50, that is, 50 minutes.”

The students flip to the first page of the exam.  Some brows begin to sweat and furrow, a few pencils tap, some pensively stare at the ceiling, while others feverishly type on their calculators[1].  Nevertheless, there are always a collection of students that look like a seasoned runner: focused, steadfast, stressed but remaining calm, and diligently working toward the prize.  That determined look espouses confidence even if the student themselves do not feel that way!

Question: Where does that confidence come from? 

Short Answer: Preparation.

Long Answer: It stems from an investment of time learning the subtle nuances of the material.  It comes from working problems and understanding their extensions.  It comes from handling the frustrating moments of “I don’t get this” that, through hard-work, transforms into “ah-hah” moments.  Understanding often comes by the way of 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

This means that when the exams do come the diligent student draws from understood material.  They pull it from their banks of knowledge that have been seasoned through time and hard work.  That’s what comes to mind.  That is what brings forth an air of confidence to face the exam.

In the heat of battle or the exams of life what comes to your mind?  Vile thoughts? Empty thoughts? Despairing thoughts?  Self-righteous thoughts? Righteous thoughts? Noble thoughts? Godly thoughts?

Do you read the scriptures hastily just as a student crams for an exam?  Or do you read the scriptures with intention and diligence just as the confident student that prepares?  After all, understanding gained hastily dwindles but those that seek it diligently will increase it (Proverbs 13:11-12).

What came to mind when Stephen was about to be stoned in Acts 7?  What came to mind when the prophet Isaiah was about to be sawed in two?  What came to mind when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about to be thrown into the furnace?  Or Daniel prior to being thrown into the lion’s den?  Or when you are singled out for your faith in Jesus Christ?  Or the other Christian martyrs of today and yesterdays?

I can tell you what came through their mind: The hope and peace that defies all human understanding in knowing that those in Jesus will overcome death itself and are assured victory in the end (Phil 4:6, 1 Cor 15:55-58).

 

1. This behavior always baffles me. Especially, since I know that their particular exam doesn’t require any calculator use. I often think, “What are they typing?” This behaviour is similar to going to work on a house with a wild chain-saw when you are tasked to work on a plumbing system!

 

 

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The Book that Understands Me

The book that understands me
Is something for you to see
As it understands you as well
And His Son will set you free.

It is a book full of wonders
Stories of long past
Riddled with prophecies
Illustrating that this earth will not last.

It is a book that clearly explains
Our fundamental dysfunction
And how that leads to our death
But, moreover, how to avoid our destruction.

The book that understands me
Explains our sorrows and fears
And it promises to deliver us
And wipe away every tear.

It is a book full of revelation
That explains the beginning to the end
Showing the power of the righteous One
Over this world that He transcends.

The book that understands me
Is the one I read day and night
Finding more pleasures while in it
Than if I was to be given everything in sight!

Maybe you’ll look into this book
And put your opinions aside
Read it cover to cover
And let His redemptive power work you from the inside.

You see, the book that understands me
Is a book I wish you all to see
For you would then know the Truth
And that Truth shall set you free.