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.)


The Pursuit of the Self

Where does the pursuit of the self ultimately lead us?

Nowhere but dissatisfaction . . .


~ 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.


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.

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.

Robert Bowman Series on Nabeel Quereshi

~ Robert Bowman has started a series on Nabeel Quereshi titled: Learning from a Failed Experiment: Nabeel Qureshi and Healing

What I just linked to is the first post in at least 9 posts. I am slowly reading them one by one.  I was going to comment on one, and started to, but my comment was getting too big, so I have decided to post it here instead. In the meantime, I would urge people to go there and read the whole series. I think the whole subject is very important.

Anyway, here is my would be comment to post #1:

I am glad to have found this series. This is because I never quite finished processing Nabeel Qureshi’s passing away. I thought for sure that he would make it and was taken aback when he did not. There were various reasons why I thought that he would live. Here are some of them:
(1) Knowing that tens of thousands of people were praying for him. Just look at his vlog numbers
(2) Knowing that Christians all over the world were praying and fasting for him. Again just look at the youtube comments – they came from everywhere
(3) Knowing not only that tens of thousands were praying for him, but so also were a galaxy of prominent Christians like Ravi Z, W.L. Craig, etc.
(4) Knowing the impact that he had – we need people like him,
(5) Seeing the gifts that he had – surely these would continue to be put to good use
(6) Considering the uncharitable way in which some Muslims might interpret his death – and this already seemed to be starting up online.
(7) – (N) And many more… esp. theological & scriptural and the obvious – his family.

I hope to continue to process it all by way of your series. Thanks!

That all said, my comments on the list above. I have realized since that

(1)-(3) would mean that God is a respecter of persons. What of a Christian in a hostile country, who only knows a handful of fellow believers? Will his prayers for healing go unanswered because he does not know thousands upon thousands of other believers or the top brass in the West?

As regards (4) & (5) – These were fair to bring up in prayer. Hezekiah implicitly laid claim to the same, when he prayed for an extension on his life. However its no guarantee.

As regards (6) – Now looking at fall out – by in large nothing happened. Yes, there will always be uncharitable characters on the net who will say all sorts of things, but by in large its either been fine or something negative that petered out pretty fast.

As regards (7)-(N), I will keep reading Bowman’s posts as the days go by and hopefully put more things things together that I never have quite been able to.

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 …


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.”


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.)


~ 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


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


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


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.”


(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.


“… 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)

Pascalian Constraints ~ C. Stephen Evans

~ I just want to jot some notes from C. Stephen Evans’ book, Why Christian Faith Still Makes Sense: A Response to Contemporary Challenges. In this book, Evans describes two principles which he calls Pascalian Constraints. These constraints, which he refers to as the

(1) Wide Accessibility Principle

and the

(2) Easy Resistibility Principle

are what I note down below.

“If we assume that God exists and has created human persons so that they can enjoy a relationship with God, then it is surely reasonable to assume that a knowledge of God would be possible for humans and that the grounds of that knowledge of God would be generally accessible. One would not think that the knowledge of God would require great philosophical learning or scientific sophistication; it would be exceedingly odd if someone had to be a theoretical physicist or have a PhD in philosophy in order to come to know God. Rather one would expect that a knowledge of God would be generally available to ordinary people. If there is evidence of God’s reality, we would expect that evidence to be fairly pervasive and easy to recognize. I call the claim that evidence for God would be widely available the “Wide Accessibility Principle.”

However, Christian theology has generally assumed that God desires humans not just to have a relationship with him but to have a relationship of a certain kind. God desires humans to serve him freely, motivated by love of God’s goodness, not out of coercion or fear. Given God’s omnipotence and omniscience, if God’s reality were too obvious it would create difficulties for this goal, for it would be the height of foolishness for even a self-centered being to oppose a being who is omnipotent and omniscient.

It thus seems plausible to assume that, though the evidence for God would be widely available and easily accessible, it would also be the kind of evidence that a person who wished to do so could dismiss or reject. We might thus expect the evidence to have a degree of ambiguity, to be such that it could be reinterpreted or explained away by those who do not wish to believe in God, or who perhaps have been taught to think this way by those who do not believe in God. The evidence would then be easily resistible, even though widely available, and I call this second constraint on the evidence for God the quote “Easy Resistibility Principle.”

Pgs. 24-25

~ Evans then goes on to quote Blaise Pascal’s Pensees. He sees the above two principles in Pascal’s Pensees. I will jot the Pensees from where Evans sources and formulates the above constraints.

“If He had wished to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened, He could have done so by revealing Himself to them so plainly that they could not doubt the truth of His essence, as He will appear on the last day with such thunder and lightning and such convulsions of nature that the dead will rise up and the blindest will see Him.

This is not the way He wished to appear when He came in mildness, because so many men had shown themselves unworthy of His clemency, that He wished to deprive them of the good they did not desire. It was therefore not right that He should appear in a manner manifestly divine and absolutely capable of convincing all men, but neither was it right that His coming should be so hidden that He could not be recognized by those who sincerely sought Him. He wished to make Himself perfectly recognizable to them. Thus wishing to appear openly to those who seek Him with all their heart and hidden from those who shun Him with all their heart, He has qualified our knowledge of Him by giving signs which can be seen by those who seek Him and not by those who do not.

‘There is enough light for those who desire only to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.'”

From Pensée 430 in Blaise Pascal, Pensées (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1958), 118.

More on all this that I will be following up on:

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

~ 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 get that you don’t get it. They just keep going, going, going. The plane is not about to land anytime soon.

Anyway, we all know these people. We’ve met them. Some people are freaky smart but they just can’t teach all thats stuffed in their heads. Teaching is a skill of its own kind. And while it comes easy to some, many people have to work hard to develop it. I just find this distinction to be interesting…

Ok… all that said, here is a really good song, For Such A Time As This from someone I just discovered on Youtube – Beckah Shae:

~ I think her songs are amazing.

When the Dead Give Life …

~ The following is a rewrite of a post that I started but did not really clean up and finish.  I intended to get back to it a bit earlier, but … 2+ years later here I am. I’m a little delayed but ehhh, whatever. Ok that said and aside. . . .  And Action!


      Joash Shooting The Arrow Of Deliverance by William Dyce (1806-64)

~ I love the above painting by William Dyce. It is of Elisha encouraging Joash to shoot some arrows out of the window.  The lighting is simply amazing. So also the skin tones… Anyway, here is a passage narrating something that took place when Elisha died.

20 Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 As they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the [dead] man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet. ~ 2 Kings 13:20+

The Psychiatrist:
~ I have an aunt who worked as a psychiatrist for decades. She is not only one on account of having gone to Medical School, but honestly, she is one also on account of her temperament. She once walked into the room of a new patient and within moments of her introducing herself to the patient, the patient said to her, “Oh. You can’t help me. You don’t know where I am coming from. You don’t know what I have been through!”

Up above we have a story of how Elisha, a man who during his life healed quite a few people and later on became sick and eventually died. Upon his death and subsequent burial, something interesting happened. Even while dead, he gave life to someone.

Could my aunt have given life to her patient? Or did she need to go out and get felled by the thing that felled this person and then come back and be on with it, saying to the patient, “I know just how you feel?”

~ I think not. While it helps a lot for one to have gone through what someone else has gone through, it is not necessary. Quite often you can do just as well if you have not gone through what others have, because you do not have a certain set of unhelpful biases.

I feel like I have observed this sort of phenomenon elsewhere also… Consider…

The Artist:
~ Some people cannot draw a line. However they are great art critics. In fact their critiques can be so constructive that an artist with an open ear can actually improve  their artwork.

    Swan Storyline

The Preacher:
~ Like so, some people cannot preach a sentence. However they can give such good feedback on a sermon heard that the preacher becomes much better. Though they themselves are dead in the pulpit, they however can give life to others in the pulpit.

The Prof:
~ An English Literature prof may at best write dead prose and even on a good day may not be able to write a line of poetry or fiction. However she may be a fantastic writing coach to her students.

And so it goes… from death to life.

Douglas Moo on the Law of Christ

In the Bible, there is a particular phrase “the law of Christ” that is used two and only two times. No more. It would seem like this would be the sort of phrase that would be found scattered all over the various books and epistles in the Bible, but it is not.  It is found only twice.

So where are those two places where this phrase found?

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).


“To those without the Law I became like one without the Law (though I am not outside the law of God but am under the law of Christ), to win those without the Law” (1 Corinthians 9:21).

Now given that the phrase is used only twice and that too in such thought provoking ways, the question naturally arises as to what it means. So what does “Law of Christ” mean anyway?

I am leafing through a commentary on Galatians by Douglas Moo.  In Moo’s discussion of the passage, he lists out two major ways in which the phrase has been variously interpreted.  In looking over the list, I suppose you could say that the “Law of Christ” has been understood as either

(LoC1) having something to do with the Law of Moses


(LoC2) having somethings to do with the Jesus Christ, Himself.

So lets look at what these are as per Moo’s commentary.

Re: (LoC1) – Something to do with the Law of Moses.

The Law of Moses basically refers to the the Torah (i.e. the Pentateuch). It is referring to all those commands that you find in the first five books of the Bible especially those seen in the latter part of Exodus, then in Leviticus, Numbers and then in Deuteronomy.  If you flip through these books you will see various laws governing sacrifices, tithing, food laws, what kind of fabrics to mix or not mix and so on.

So according to one major interpretation, the Law of Christ is basically be identified with the Law of Moses.  So Law of Christ = Law of Moses.

The next way is distinct from the what I just discussed (LoC1) in that it has nothing to do with the Law of Moses.

Re: (LoC2) – Somethings to do with the Person of Jesus Christ.

~ Note that I said “something-s” not something as in LoC1. Moo here lists out three different ways that the Law of Christ has been interpreted such that it relates to the person of Jesus Christ. Here they are:

(1) The Law of Christ is referring to the famous love command which Jesus said was what was at the heart of the Law.  The apostle Paul mentions it in Galatians.

~~~> For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14).

And … You can find variations of it all over the New Testament. For example,

“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another” (John 13:34).

(2) The Law of Christ is referring to the various ethical teachings of Jesus.

~ These would be things like the Golden Rule or love for your enemies, judging others and so on.

(3) The Law of Christ is referring to Jesus example.

~ So you look at all the good things that Jesus did during His life and follow suite. So you feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and so on.

(4) The Law of Christ is referring to some combination of (1) – (3).

~ Moo thinks that (4) is where it is at with the addition all the teachings and commandments of the inspired apostles. So we could say it is a (4)+.

Here is a quote from the book:

Moo states “At the risk, then, of “having one’s cake and eating it twice” (or three of four times),  we think Paul’s phrase “the law of Christ” refers, in direct counterpart to “the law of Moses,” to the broadly ethical demand of the gospel.”

Ok… Ciao!

Paisley Lady – after Nth Attempt (for Inktober)

I have not been writing all that much here lately. I’ve just been doing a bunch of art.  I do hope to get back soon. In the meantime, this is my latest…

Paisley Lady

~ The above is my n-th attempt at trying to make a certain something. What I was originally trying to make did not work out, so I ended up with what you see. Oh well…  I will keep trying to get the other thing that I am trying to do work.

That all said, i used Affinity Designer for the inks and used Adobe Stock Images for the background since it takes just waaaaaaay too much time to do paisley and right now I just do not have the time right now.