Paul David Tripp Quote

~ I found the following article which taking a look at the Articles list at Crossway Books:

10 Things You Should Know about Sex by Paul David Tripp

~ I want to basically excerpt something that he said and post it here:

4. Sex cannot satisfy your heart.
Sex is powerfully pleasurable, but it cannot satisfy your heart. The touch of another person stimulates your body and your heart, but it never leaves you fulfilled. …

Whether we know it or not, every human being lives in search of a savior. We are all propelled by a quest for identity, inner peace, and some kind of meaning and purpose. And we all look for it somewhere. Here’s the bottom line: looking to creation to get what only the Creator can give you always results in addiction of some kind.”

~ What is of interest to me is are the four things that Tripp mentions that he thinks all people are in a quest for. Here are the four with my own elaborations:

  1. Identity
  2. Inner Peace
    1. I would say that this is the same as Contentment or Happiness in the sense of human flourishing, not simply split second pleasures.
  3. Meaning 
    1. I call it the Meaning of Life, i.e. the Story of Stories or the Grand overarching Meta-narrative (think Superstory).  We are all searching to be part of a story – a story that lasts and one that in particular has a happy ending. When we are part of the Story, our lives have direction (i.e. purpose) and we have identity (think cast of characters).  When we are part of the Story, we are part of something larger than ourselves, i.e. significance. And of course, when we are part of the Story, we have a sense of belonging, i.e. identity again. (Our lives are not simply suspended in mid-air.) The question is: “Is the story that we are a part of, one that is broken?” or “Is our story a part of a greater Story of Stories, one that can reach down, bend over and fix our broken story?”
  4. Purpose
    1. Purpose is not the same this as “the Meaning of Life”, an expression which is meant to encapsulate the whole of life. Rather Purpose is a subset. I call it something like “What is the Meaning of MY Life?”. That is to say, Purpose has to do with not just why all humans are here or what all humans are to do, but more specifically, why am I here and what am I do to do in this life? (~ I still have to resolve how this relates to significance.)

~ Here also is a brief clip on who Tripp is: 

Paul David Tripp (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is also the president of Paul Tripp Ministries.

 

Advertisements

Lazy Sunday…

~ Just made the following w/ Affinity Designer. I had in mind to do a certain something with the line work, but so far have not succeeded in doing that something. Oh. Well – another day I suppose.  In the meantime, I guess I will go read something by Hemingway or someone … Siyanaras!

Face Test

 

Knowing vs. Teaching | Bezalel & Oholiab

~ In the book of Exodus, we find mentioned, two artists par excellent.  These are Bezalel and Oholiab. One place among many that you can read about them is Exodus 35:30-35,

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And He has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. (NIV)

~ Now what I find interesting about this verse is that it is saying not only that God gave these guys the ability to do art, but God also gave them the ability to teach others how to do art.

As regards verse 34, Walt Kaiser says in his commentary,

“Verse 34 adds that Bezalel is given “the ability to teach others,” a capability of training and guiding assistants who work with these two artificers. All the abilities these gifted craftsmen own come from the expertise God has given to them.”

Kaiser, Jr., Walter C., Exodus (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 7881-7883). Zondervan. 

~ I find this interesting because we meet a lot of people in life who are super-smart at Neuroscience or Astrophysics or whatever, but you ask them to explain one jot of it and in no time, they are sort of out in who-knows-where-land and you have no clue what they are talking about.  And… and … they don’t quite get that you don’t get it. They just keep going, going, going. The plane is not about to land anytime soon.

All that said and aside – two quick points:

  1. I think that teaching has to be learned like anything else. We all too often assume that to know something well means that you can automatically teach that something well. Why? Why assume that?
  2. We also assume that while every subject under the sky is learn-able, teaching is somehow not. We assume that teaching skills are somehow something that one is born with – something innate. Why?

No. Point in fact, people need to be taught how to teach, not just be told to teach or assumed able to teach.  Teaching is an area we all need to grow in. 

Palanquin Bearers by Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu

~ I am surprised I missed this poem. I thought I had posted on it before… but in doing a search through my posts, I cannot find it. Soeee….here it is – Palanquin Bearers by the poet, writer and former President of the Indian National Congress, Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949). I have to post the poem, because it bears an interesting contrast with Song of Songs.

Palanquin Bearers by Sarojini Naidu

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Royal Palanquin in Mehrangarh Fort out in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

~ Echoes of a Voice ~

~ I am reading a really interesting article, A Way Forward For Pastor-Apologists: Navigating The Apologetic Method Debate by Joshua D. Chatraw, which discusses four echoes of God’s voice that take us beyond our everyday mundane reality (or at least push in that direction).

Chatraw sources the ideas for these four echoes from the N.T. Wright book, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. Since I do not have that book, I cannot source the original discussion and so I am just going to take notes by doing a cut and paste from the Chatraw article which can be found online (pdf).

Simply Christian

Here is the excerpt which I find fascinating:

“N. T. Wright’s book Simply Christian serves as an example of what could be called soft experiential/narratival apologetics.36

Four basic human experiences,
namely

the quest for spirituality,
a longing for justice,
a hunger for relationships,
and a delight in beauty

(which Wright describes as the “echoes of a voice”), function as the threads that run through this apologetic.37 Wright takes up each of these signposts one at a time, connecting Christian belief with common human experience.

For instance, in reference to the “echo” of a longing for justice, Wright asserts that “simply being human and living in the world” means we have an intuitive desire for justice.38 The Christian story offers an explanation, suggesting that obtaining justice “remains one of the great human goals and dreams” because we have all “heard, deep within [our]selves, the echo of a voice which calls us to live like that.” Moreover, the Christian story explains that the source of this voice, God himself, became human in the person of Jesus Christ and did what was necessary in order that justice could ultimately be done for all.39

Essentially, what Wright is saying is, “Just about everyone has this sense that things are just not right with the world? So, what story best explains this intuition and provides the resources for us to respond appropriately? In addition to a longing for justice, Wright does this with each of the four human experiences—commending the Christian story as the best account of the human experience.”

~ The following is a book that Dr. Chatraw has recently published along with Dr. Mark D. Allen which also discusses the above issue.

Apologetics At The Cross

~ I would take notes from there however, I currently have the book in audio format only, and not in print.

Preach to Yourself

~ The following is an old devotional from John Piper that I do not wish to forget:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

We must learn to fight despondency. The fight is a fight of faith in future grace. It is fought by preaching truth to ourselves about God and his promised future.

This is what the psalmist does in Psalm 42. The psalmist preaches to his troubled soul. He scolds himself and argues with himself. And his main argument is future grace: “Hope in God! — Trust in what God will be for you in the future. A day of praise is coming. The presence of the Lord will be all the help you need. And he has promised to be with us forever.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones believes this issue of preaching truth to ourselves about God’s future grace is all-important in overcoming spiritual depression.

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking . . . yourself is talking to you!

The battle against despondency is a battle to believe the promises of God. And that belief in God’s future grace comes by hearing the Word. And so preaching to ourselves is at the heart of the battle.

Walk Into Your Weakness!

~ The below painting dates back to the early 14th century. It is by the Persian historian, writer and vizier, Muhammad Bal’ami. I found it on Wiki. It is part of work called the Tarikh-i Bal’ami, which since I do not know Arabic, I cannot comment on.

The Slaying of Goliath by David With a Stone From His Sling ~ Bal’ami Tarikhnama (14th Cent)

~ We are all familiar with the story of David and Goliath. Here are some thoughts and snips from an email I sent to some of my friends:

“Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.” ~ 1 Sam. 17

So the Valley of Elah is shaped like a triangle and you have the Israelites on one side and the Philistines on the other, each camped on the hills. The Valley itself is empty down below. So here is the logic of the landscape:

~ Goliath notwithstanding, whoever goes down first into the valley – whether it be the Israelites or whether it be the Philistines – are at a disadvantage. Why? (1) Those going first, will have to face a hail of arrows, javelins, spears, sling-stones and rocks coming down from the other army up on the mountainside, and (2) if they make it through all that and on to the bottom of the Valley, then they have to run uphill to face the enemy. This is tiresome.

So the question becomes – who will go down first? Who will enter the Valley first? So you taunt, jeer, and hurl challenges to the other side to get them to come down first. Or … Or you settle it quick by having your champions meet, then let them have it out, pne against the other and then let it be decided right there and then. All that simply to say…

“Walk Into Your Weakness!”
~ We often like walking or operating in our strengths. However there are going to be various times in life where we will be called to walk into our weakness. That is to say, we will have to step into an area of life where we will find ourselves unable to call a single muscle fiber to action and find ourself paralyzed – though with a thousand nerve fibers firing! And yet, we will find that when we walk into our weakness, then “…thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Why? Because 2 Cor. 12:9 tells us that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor 12:11 also says “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Weakness seems to be God’s preferred weapon. It is a major theme of not just 2 Cor 12, but the whole book of 2 Corinthians.

In meditating on 1 Sam 17, I see weakness in action in two ways.

First David walks into weakness, by not donning any armor, sword, helmet, etc. Contrast this with Goliath’s glitzy armored car display.

Second when David defeats Goliath (weakness triumphant!), the Israelites follow suit and walk – nay! – run into weakness.They charge into the Valley of Elah. They run into a position of vulnerability, i.e. a strategically weak position in the Valley, where they ought to meet an hail of arrows, javelins, spears, sling-stones and heck boulders being hurled or rolled down on them. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory!

So – what are your weaknesses? Could God be calling you to walk into some of them? To take off the worldly armor of Goliath and put on the invisible armor of God. So what are your weaknesses? Public speaking? Talking to a relative about anger management issues? Talking to a difficult person at the workplace? What is your Valley of Elah?

In the Valley of Elah

(~ Did not know that there was a movie with said name. I have not seen yet it so I am not endorsing it, although Tommy Lee Jones is a great actor.)

Twice-Defeated

~ Very recently there have been a number of disconcerting things taking place in the USA. These have to do with not only an event happening, but so also the response to them. Act and response have both been ugly. Here is my two cents worth on this:

~ While you can win a battle once and only once, you can most certainly lose it twice.

Brooklyn

One sultry afternoon while walking the streets of Brooklyn, I snapped this…

~ I daresay, I rather like this photo, though I think I can improve upon it… If I make it back there… snap…

El Realismo Mágico – Thoughts on the side

The artwork here in this post is from the likes of George Tooker, Andrew Wyeth and Alex Colville. Their work has been described as being a part of a movement called Magic Realism (MR). Other Magical Realist’s are Jared French, Paul Cadmus, Frida Kahlo, Edward Hopper, etc.

Thats the artistic side of things. Magical Realism also comes in the form of a Literary movement and that is what I want to comment on here.

Magical Realism ala Literature apparently has to do with treating/perceiving what is magical as though is were everyday ordinary and everyday real. Something magical is either (a) treated or (b) perceived as just one more happening among many other happenings. Some example of Magical Realists writers are Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges, etc.

Example:
So for example, the Gabriel García Márquez story, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is about – wiki excerpt –> “… a very old man with enormous wings who appears in a families’ backyard on a stormy night. What follows are the reactions of the family, a town, and outside visitors.”

So an angel is treated as just another person – not as someone to be marvelled at or responded to with awe and wonder. The title of the story says it all – A Very Old Man…

Another Example:
Or more humorously – going back a few thousand years even, there is the story of the Exodus in the Bible, where the Israelites have left a harsh Egypt and en route have seen some pretty remarkable things like the Red Sea parting, bitter water turning sweet or living under a Pillar of Fire by night and a Pillar of Cloud by day and yet they …

“… and again the Israelites wept and said, ‘Who will feed us meat? We remember the fish we ate freely in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now our appetite is gone; there is nothing to see but this manna!'” ~ Numbers 11

That said,

IF the following approximates what MR is – or at least captures one major idea embedded in it:

Magical Realism: treating that which is extraordinary and say supra-real as though it were just plain ordinary or everyday real.

THEN I want to make a claim, that all people have within them a Magical Realist impulse to some degree. ALL. And I think I see this impulse everywhere.

(1) Daily Life:
So for example, there are atheists who will say that they do not believe that God exists. Yet when a difficult situation in life takes place, they will get angry and reply with a “How can God …?” ~ This has been documented in Psych journals.

Then there are those folks who say that they believe that God exists, yet live like there is no God. Functional Atheism?

Then there are people like me who believe that God exists and who believes that he has seen some things go down in life that are inexplicable apart from God, and yet balk when a situation demands and exercise of faith.

(2) Daily Life – In the Books – Literary Devices

Writers develop their stories via various literary devices such as foreshadowing, symbolism, synecdoche, metaphor, etc.

So when I read the Great Gatsby, its a very normal part of my reading and processing to construe the green light as something symbolic of Gatsby’s hopes, dreams and even a longing for a special someone, viz. Daisy.

Why is this normal? Why do we accept the use of literary devices so matter-of-factly when in print? What I mean is this – when I look out the window, and if it is cloudy and raining, I do not interpret this as meaning, that 10, 15 years from now my life will be dismal. No? If that were so then that would be miraculous indeed.

If symbolism does not exist in daily life then how did it creep into our literature?

Morever how are we to understand it when authors like Carl Sagan or Jean Paul Sarte use it literary capacity to make a point such as God not existing and this life, from rocks to big rocks and from atoms to molecules, i.e. little rocks, is all that there is?

Ans. Magical Realism – We have within ourselves a Magic Realist impulse.

Literary devices are mini miracles. To treat them as staid and to employ them against a cause that demands their very existence is odd.

(3) The Paradox of Fiction

– describes what happens when we treat or react to something that is not real, (e.g. fiction) as though it were real.

So the question here is – Why do I read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and weep even though I know that none of this really happened? Its not real.

If I tell you that Joe died and Joe is standing next to you, you will not weep. Why? Because you know it never really happened. Its not real.

So why do we react to something as though it were real, when it is in fact not real?

I want to answer once again – Magic Realism – however as I keep thinking I suspect that the dot doesn’t quite connect. Hmmm… No maybe it does connect.

Authors like Albert Camus either perceive symbols as quite ordinary (the bread in The Stranger) or deliberately treat symbols as ordinary in order to argue for a world that is quite drab and really worse than ordinary.

This is Magical Realism. At the very least it belies an impulse that drives it.

Ok. I’ll end here.

All that said and aside – a disclaimer… scratchwork, patchwork, these are just loose and wandering back-of-the-mind thoughts that I am trying to stitch together. Its still rough.

Dostoyevsky Quote

~ I just put the following together in a really quick slapdash manner. I used Affinity Designer to make it. While I am behind on posts that I want to put up here – I do not want to lose sight of this quote… so …

Dostoyevsky

Happy Easter!!!

~ I randomly made the following bird in Affinity Designer yesterday and thought to myself:

“Hey you know? This could be an Easter thing.”

~ How so? Well Easter is generally when we dress in bright colors when we are off to church. And its about the Resurrection! New Life! And its no coincidence that it takes place roughly at the beginning of Spring – when the birds start chirping, the plants – the trees start budding, the flowers start blooming and scents start filling the air. Easter is when color comes out.

So… here it is…

Happy Easter!!!

*Artistic Note on the side: Yes. I know – the bird needs a few tweaks here and there, but you reach that point sometimes – that “Ehhh-point!”, where you are just like “Y’know what? I’m done…So it goes.”

Truthing…

You might be familiar with the following verse and the idea therein:

“But, speaking the truth in love …” ~ Ephesians 4:15

What is interesting is that this verse in the original Greek,

“ἀληθεύοντες δὲ ἐν ἀγάπῃ …” 

can also quite literally be rendered as,

Truthing in love”.

Are you truthing?

(*Note: I made the above at this website: http://schooart.weebly.com/graffiti-creator.html and then modified it in Clip Studio Paint.)

TRUTH-ING!

~ I really like this word.  Truthing refers not only to speaking but so also to doing – doing truth that is. Its truth in action. Truth in motion. Its truth in 3D. It is what we see in our daily lives with our two eyes. Indeed, it is truth for the eye, not just the ear.

The NET Bible puts it as follows:  But practicing the truth in love …” ~ Ephesians 4:15

~ Again, notice that the NET Bible translation indicates that truthing involves more than just talk. It involves action also. It about truth-doing. Ephesians is not the only place where you see this.

“Hezekiah … did the good, the right and the truth.” ~ 2 Chron. 31:20

or

“Thou has done truth, and we have acted wickedly.” ~ Nehemiah 9:33

or

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. ~ 1 John 1:6

or

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship … in truth…” ~ John 4:23

There is something to be said about truth being done in 3D, that is live before our eyes. Indeed, there is such a thing as visual truth. Truth sometimes comes to us not just in books, but in a pictorial fashion.  There is truth attached to our actions and behaviors.  Our actions are not to be deceptive, phony, sneaky, cunning, misleading, dissimulating, etc. They – our very actions and not just our words – are to be truthful.

~~~> We are to be truthing!

For further online reading, see also:
(1) Ephesians 4: Truthing in loveKnowing God through His Word … Day by Day
(2) Ephesians (ESV Edition): The Mystery of the Body of Christ by R. Kent Hughes

Instance of Monergism and Synergism (3) – Close

~ In this post, I want to bring to a close, a series where I attempt to explain the theological concepts of monergism and synergism.  Ok… getting to it.

So I mentioned in a prior post, that synergism is what you get where both God and people in involved in some work. Its a BOTH-AND principle involving an Invisible Hand.  Monergism on the other Hand(!) is what you have when God does all the work. We are involved, but only in a passive sort of a way. Lets look at these from the vantage point of the previously mentioned stories.

Manoah & Wife:
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah and his wife and told them that they were going to give birth to Samson, what did Manoah and his wife do?

Did they just simply sit down at the window, watch the clouds go by and twiddle their thumbs for 9 months? Did they decide that they should just wait and do nothing until the baby just showed up?

No. Once God had told Manoah and wife that they would have a baby, then they had to get down to business. I.e. Manoah and wife had to yada yada yada in order to conceive. This is synergism. Both God and people were involved.

The same goes for Zechariah and Elizabeth, Isaac and Rebekah, Abraham and Sarah and so on. Once it was divinely revealed to them that they would have a child, then they had something to do. God had already begun to do His part. They now had to do their part.

Mary, the mother of Jesus:
Now let us step out of the above scenarios and go to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

La Anunciación – by Leonardo Da Vinci

~ As we all know, in the case of Mary, once the angel Gabriel made the announcement that she was to be with child, she was to do nothing. She was to remain a virgin. There was to be no yada yada yada with Joseph. They would not be coming together. Unlike the above cases, Mary could only passively receive this gift. Her having a child was wholly a work of God. Amen! This is monergism.

Instances of Monergism & Synergism in the Bible (2)

So in my previous post on the above, I said that I would try to explain monergism and synergism vis a viz instances of it in the Bible and that I would be going to a rather odd place to explain this… well here goes.

Barren Women in the Bible:

Samuel Dedicated by Hannah at the Temple by Frank W.W. Topham (1838-1924)

~ In the Bible, there are a number of stories told women who for whatever reason were unable to have a child. Let me recant some of these:

(1) Abraham & Sarah:
In Genesis we have the story of the angels appearing to Abraham and Sarah and telling them that come Spring, they would have a child.  And come Spring thats exactly what happens. The crazy thing about this story is that Abraham is a 100 years old at this time, and Sarah, 90 years old.

(2) Isaac & Rebekah:
Another story from Genesis is that of Rebekah, Isaac’s wife (Genesis 24-25). Rebekah struggled with childlessness for many years and as the story is told, her husband, Isaac put really put it to prayer (possibly 20 years straight!) and then Rebekah eventually gave birth to the twins, Jacob and Esau.

(3) Hannah & Elkanah:
Another story is that of Hannah (1 Samuel 1). She too was unable to have children and was in deep grief over the matter. However she prayed persistently over the matter and God answered her prayers and she gave birth to Samuel.

(4) The Shunammite:
In 1 Kings we have the story of the Shunammite who I assume is an elderly woman. The prophet Elisha says to her “At this time next year you will have a son in your arms,” and to which she responds with a “No, my lord. Man of God, do not deceive your servant.”  Yet at precisely that time, the following year, she gives birth to a son.

An Angel Appearing to the Wife of Manoah ~ Carlo Saraceni (1579-1620)
An Angel Appearing to the Wife of Manoah ~ Carlo Saraceni (1579-1620)

(5) Jacob & Rachel, Manoah & his wife, Zechariah & Elizabeth …
As I said, the stories can be multiplied. We also have the story of Jacob and Rachel, the story of Manoah and his wife and then Zechariah and Elizabeth. All of these are stories involving a woman who is barren for a long while and then giving birth.

(6) And yet… still one more …sort of ~~~> the Virgin Mary
And… AND… we also have the angel Gabriel appearing to the virgin Mary and telling her that she will also give birth to the Messiah.

But wait! “Mary was not barren!” you say. I know, but I need this to make a contrasting point, so I need to mention her also. Like the above stories, Mary’s was also not a run of the mill pregnancy either. The circumstances under which she gave birth were also quite unusual.

And… and I will continue on in my next and final post.

Pascal’s Paradox of the Greatness and Wretchedness of Man

Just made this…

Its Lent, a season where we consider our wretchedness (i.e. sin) and furthermore  repent of it.

~ I think Pascal’s Paradox points out our simultaneous wretchedness and greatness. However the greatness that it points out is also a wretched greatness, because it cannot get you beyond the human level.  You need a greatness that transcends, and that can only come from God.

If you keep looking at human greatness, you will keep falling back into the wretchedness.

Instances of Monergism & Synergism in the Bible (1)

Every now and then in theology, a couple of words can crop up, viz. monergism and synergism – that can be somewhat difficult to grasp. Part of the reason why these concepts are difficult to grasp is that they often arise within the context of discussions of another theological concept that is difficult to grasp, viz. regeneration.

Regeneration refers to that first moment in time when one becomes born again or born from above. It is that moment when God imparts new spiritual life to a person, and subsequent to which various other things (faith, conversion, sanctification, etc.) follow. A key point to get across about regeneration is that it is wholly a work of God. From start to finish, it is something that God brings about in an individual. It is not something that we can muster up of our own selves. No, rather we are completely passive in the act and God does it all.

This is where the term monergism comes in. Monergism refers to any and every event where God is the sole actor. The prefix mon (i.e. mono) means one and the word erg (from ergon) means work. So from here we get the idea of One person doing all the work.  Regeneration is a monergistic moment in the life a person.

In contrast we have the word synergism. Here we have a different prefix, syn, which is referring to the idea of “together with”.  In synergism we are talking about two persons working together, i.e. God and man. Sanctification is synergistic. Synergism and all that can be categorized under it, flows out of that first monergistic moment.

Getting difficult? Est-ce difficile?

It is a bit difficult, no? Not to worry however because I think I bring to the fore some concrete examples of this that will clear it all up.

Ok… Lets begin. . . .  at an odd place.  However in the next post.

Other Stuff I’ve Written:
~ Monergism & Synergism ~ Notes…

George Müller

~ I made this last night. What Müller is basically talking about is the fact that every morning, unless he was happy, satisfied and glad with God, he would not leave his room. That is how he lived his life.

George Müller (1805–1898)

 

Totally Amazing! ~ Tim Tebow Shares Incredible Story of John 3:16

I just saw this really remarkable video in which Tim Tebow talks of how John 3:16 played out in his life in a most remarkable way. Watch the video if you have the time. Its 6:32 long.

Or else if you are strapped for time, you can read the details of it in the Wiki article that I will link below.

And here is the link to the Wiki article. You have to scroll down to read the relevant details.

The 3:16 Gamehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_3:16_game 

God’s Providence is amazing. Only God can pull off such things. Only God. No human being can even begin to envision such a thing. We truly live in a wondrous world! 

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” ~ Jeremiah 32:27

The Meaning of Life (3) – the Nature of the Question

The question, “What is the Meaning of Life?” seems to be something that is hardwired into us.  I mean if you spend some time traveling around the world, you will see that from Burundi to Belgium, and from Chad to Cuba, the question is asked in one form or another. If you have even a modicum of reflectivity in your personality, then you will consider the question at some point in your life.

Got Meaning?

~ I want to take a minute to just briefly analyze the question and just write down some thoughts.

(1) The first thought is this: The question of the MOL is concerned with ALL of life comprehensively. It is not simply concerned with some part of life only because otherwise the question really would be “What is the Meaning of some part of life?” So…

It concerns everything from the geese migrating in the skies to the happenings in your life to what is going on in the cancer ward of a hospital to your friendships, your loves, your hates, war, peace, what happened 600 years ago to some serf somewhere, to what will happen to the universe a few billion years from now.

~ So when the word “life” as used in this question, it is to be understood as something in the broadest sense possible. Life is meant to be as all-encompassing as possible.

So when someone asks, “What is the Meaning of Life?” they are not simply asking about what is going on in your math class or in the neighborhood zoo? They are asking about everything that is going on and has gone on and will go on and on every plane – existential, psychological, spiritual, physical, etc. – possible.

(2) Given the universal nature of the question, I would like to suggest a constraint somewhat similar to the Pascalian Constraints that I have previously blogged about. I would like to call this the Wide Comprehensibility Principle.  This is how I would describe this:

Wide Comprehensibility Principle:  My claim is that whatever the MOL is, it has to be something that once a clear explanation of it is given, it will be comprehensible to absolutely any person.

That is to say, if I basically give a decent and clear explanation of the MOL to someone – anyone – whether this person be an illiterate beggar currently living in the slums of Kolkata, India or a nomad living out in the Mongolian Steppe back in the 12th Century or someone with a PhD in Astrophysics or a Masai tribesman from back in the 1765 A.D., etc. – this person will comprehend it.

(3) The MOL must be something that is in part livable by ANY human being. In part the MOL has to do with lived-out meaning. The MOL is not just a bunch of head knowledge. There is a practical side to it. Head, Heart and Hand.

~ This comes out of the forms of knowledge that I mentioned below. The MOL would be something involving all 3 forms of knowledge and in particular the Personal knowledge and Procedural knowledge components on this would mean that on some level, the MOL is livable.

~ I will continue to work on this as time goes by and as I keep analyzing and re-analyzing my thoughts.

The Glorious Impossible!

~ At church today, we sang a song, The Glorious Impossible” by the Gaither Vocal Group.  I really liked certain words in it, viz. “the Glorious Impossible” which is not just the title but so also words in the song.

So I messed around and attempted some artwork with some lyrics from the song. Here it is and I got the reference artwork for this from pixabay.

~ The Glorious Impossible is of course referring to He who was 100% human, 100% divine – Jesus Christ who is God Incarnate in the flesh.

Merry Christmas!!!

For to us a Child is born,
to us a Son is given,
and the government will be
on His shoulders.
And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

~ Isaiah 9:6

The Meaning of Life – Two Basic Thesis (1)

~ In Analytic Philosophical circles, after a good long pause, the question of the Meaning of Life (MOL) has once again started to make the rounds. In recent discussions, there have been two accounts offered as to what is going on with said question. These two accounts are known as the (1) Amalgam Thesis and the (2) Narrative Thesis (or Narrative Interpretation). These two accounts are apparently odds with each other.

Here is a quick summary of what they are:

(1) The Amalgam Thesis states that the question of the MOL is actually something nebulous. It is really a placeholder for various other questions like “Does my life have significance?” or “Does my life have purpose?” or “Who am I?” etc… ~ So according to the Amalgam Thesis, the MOL is really a set of questions

(2) According to the Narrative Thesis, the question of the MOL is ONE single question. It is not something like a conglomerate of questions with all sorts of answers.  Rather it is a question that is asking for an answer that is in effect a story. So the question of the MOL is asking if there is a Story out there, some grand overarching Story that will speak to all the happenings in life and confer all those things like purpose, value, significance, etc.

Perhaps another way to state it is to say that it (the MOL) is really a question asking if the nature of reality is storified. If reality has a storified character, then what is that story narrating across all of reality and speaking to all my doings and going-ons and whatnots.

~ I’ve been looking at this stuff for some whiles. It has not been easy since most of the stuff comes in the form of academic journal articles. If there are things amiss with what I have said up above, don’t mind it. I am just hoping to approximate the ideas.

*Note: I also want to note that another response in addition to the above two is to say that (3) the question is itself meaningless or somehow incoherent. As such its a waste of time to ponder. I don’ buy this. I mean only every person on the face of the planet asks this question and am I to think that all these people are somehow a bunch of fools who are wasting their time?

Types of Knowledge & the MOL

~ Philosophers often distinguish between three different types of knowledge. There is:

(1) Propositional Knowledge: This is knowledge having to do with facts.  For example, you know that “Abraham Lincoln was once the President of the United States.” or “The sum of all the angles in a triangle is 180 degrees.”

and

(2) Procedural Knowledge: This has to do with knowing how to do something or our ability to do something. For example, knowing how to ride or to swim is a form of procedural knowledge. You cannot simply read a book on swimming (= propositional knowledge) and then go swimming.

and finally,

(3) Personal Knowledge: This is also known as knowledge by acquaintance. How do I know you? Do I read simply read a book containing all sorts of facts about you, and then it can be said that I know you? Is that how it works? Or think of a person who plays hockey and uses only one particular hockey stick that he himself made. He wont use any other because he says that this is the one he has used for years and this is the stick that he truly knows and feels. ~~~> Knowledge by acquaintance.

~ Now all that said some quick comments.

The first which is really a minor aside is that I have wondered if a short-hand and informal way to categorize these forms of  knowledge simply is to call them “Head, Hand and Heart” – knowledge.

The second has to do with the Meaning of Life (MOL). If there is such a thing as the Meaning of Life is, then it must be something that encompasses all of the above forms of knowledge. The answer to the question of what the MOL is must contain propositions. That surely is apparent.

However what is not so apparent is really is the case is that the MOL also comes in the other two forms of knowledge. That is to say, the MOL must involve or resonate with our hearts (= knowledge by acquaintance) and it must involve doing something (= know-how).

I.e. I guess what I want to say is that life must consist in lived-out-meaning. You cannot simply know what the MOL is, but you must also live it out. To not live out meaning, may mean that in some sense or on some level you might find life to be meaningless.

Something like this is what I am working on.

Addendum (1/1/18): The French language has two beautiful words that capture the above senses of knowing.  They are savoir and connaître.  The word savoir basically describes Propositional & Procedural knowledge, whereas connaître is Personal knowledge at least in the sense of knowing people. 

 

Aesthetics: Why Beauty Points Us Towards The Existence Of God

~ I found the post, Why Beauty Points Us Towards The Existence Of God  a short whiles back and have begun to read it. It is of interest to me, because it is an issue that hits upon a couple of things that I am interested in. One is the nature of Happiness(or Joy) and the second is a philosophical argument for the existence of God, which variously goes by names such as “The Argument From Longing” or “The Argument From Joy”. How does all this relate to the post in question? Well – Beauty provokes longing.

Excerpt:

“… Most of us are familiar with the classical arguments for God’s existence which have, over millennia, taken various forms though they express the same fundamental truth or body of truths. Namely, our knowledge and experience of the universe (why it exists at all, how it originated, the fine-tuning of physical constants and biological life) all point upwards, above and beyond, to some great being we know as God.

That is the crux of the Moral Argument, but it has lead me to think as to why there is no argument for God’s existence from the idea of Beauty or from the idea of Aesthetic Truths. After all, the link between aesthetics and ethics has long been established or at least recognised to some degree. And so here I will make a brief attempt to formulate some argument for the existence of God based on the existence and nature of Beauty.”

(oil on canvas)
Marigolds and Tangerines by Félix Vallotton (1865-1925)