Friday, October 31, 2008

Nonsolid, absolute truth

I tend to enjoy parallels-by-metaphor for two reasons. First, they're fun. Second, they tend to actually shape the way societies think (for most of the people) so if one is accurate in seeing them as they happen, one can predict (and who doesn't like such a feeling of power or control!).

So I have come across an shift in physics that I think might either mirror what is already going on, might be the cause, or might be the result. Regardless, the connection is quite tight (in my opinion).

Parallel: absolute truths & matter. We tend to think of 'stuff' as 'just being there - you can't deny that the chair I'm sitting on is real!' Something like absolute truths - they're just there, you can't deny them, for in doing so you make an absolute statement and accidentally, then, prove the existence of absolute truths.

Possible parallel: "mass is no longer an inherent property of matter since it CHANGES with velocity. Instead, mass = inertial potential. Again, this makes 'mass' not really a quality solely within the object itself but only see-able (observable, measurable, understandable, etc.) using external objects or force."
What if absolute truth OR my rationality (or human rationality) is NOT an inherent property but an implication of inertia... What if what one feels, senses, thinks, etc. is only the effect of a 'truth' or 'proposition'?

Implication: 'relativity' in physics/science does NOT state that everything is relative but, instead, the OBSERVER can only have a relative relationship with the object. The mass of an object depends on MY velocity (and by extension, the object's velocity relative to mine).
Or put a little more simply (in my opinion), I can measure the speed of my car at 60 miles per hour. But that's on a planet spinning something like 1,000 mph on a planet moving at about 67,000 mph around the Sun. So how fast is my car going? It depends on the observer's relationship to my car (the object). To the police officer I'm going 75mph. To the moon, I'm going between 900 and 1,100mph (I'm NOT going to bring that before the judge!).

BUT! That doesn't make measuring worthless! Nor does it prevent there being a place in the universe where one COULD measure everything accurately - if there was a central point around which everything else rotated, for example.

EVEN MORESO - if "it's all relative" then my car sitting in my garage is going an insanely dangerous 68,000 mph in the morning (slowing down to 66,000 around 2am). This is silly because what I'm actually concerned about (for safety purposes) is inertial potential which has everything to do with the observer.

What happens when some post-modern philosophers speak of the death of the metanarrative is that they are saying, "I don't like what the potential affect certain metanarratives have (or have had!) on people/society." But that only makes sense in their own metanarrative (as many of them eventually bemoan).

My Opinion on the Practical Ramifications: What we're all looking for is a true, context-specific measurement of what is or is coming (could be, should be, will be, etc.). I don't care what speed my car is going from the perspective of the moon for that is not context-specific (me and the police officer's radar gun). Nor do I care that a physics professor can tell me that my car is going between -6,000,000 and +12,000,000 miles per hour -- that isn't 'true' because each context that contributes to that 'answer' negates the other contexts giving me all-but infinite false-positives.
This, to me, is the parallel plight of Modernity - Modernity claims to have truth but it doesn't have even CLOSE to enough accuracy for local situations. But the post-modern falicy is to state that lack of accuracy means worthlessness. Getting hit by a large truck going an inaccurate, relative 100 mph still hurts!! That inaccurate, relative assessment of speed is NOT worthless!

I need (want?) an objective (outside) observer that can think - that can measure in a way that is true AND context-specific. That can not only tell me what is REALLY going on (yet in terms that make sense to me / my context) but can also tell me what will happen to me/us if we are hit by (absorb, become, believe, etc.) the potential inertia of another object, thought, belief, etc.

This observer would, according to most every defintion I can remember ever being used throughout time, be labeled . . . .


Did we kill God when we made His previous, context-specific observations into Universal & Absolute? Did we replace Him with His statements? Have we not let Him unleash His potential inertia!?!?!
And for those who have tried to let God be true-and-relevant, have we found Him to be too unpredicable - too scary?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pastors as PickUp Artists

My good friend, Jesse Gable, 'introduced' me to the sub-culture of "PickUp Artists."

[NOTE: Neither Jesse nor I are pick-up artists!]

So I read a bit on this approach to life. I found it dumb and base but powerful. This drew me to ponder my own use of power, posture, etc. in relationships and even my work. And now I have distilled a major insight.

When I first meet someone (or a group), I can work towards Respect or Trust.

PickUp Artists work for Respect. They work to create a (sub)version of reality that gives them incredible respect. They want the respect of their 'target' (girl). But ALSO self-respect as well as the respect of others (even other males). **

Ironically, the one book I read on/by PickUp Artist ended with the author's (fake)world being 'popped' by a real girl who didn't play the game. She had more power (respect) over him than he had over her. He left "the game" (as he called it) to be with the more powerful one. Irony to spare!

So what sets apart a PickUp Artist? Why are they so "successful"? Because they go after Respect-Only. The rest of us (intuitively) go after some amount of Trust.

I fear pastors have become PickUp Artists: When I ask pastors about their churches, I get Respect answers (number of _____, income, impact). Perhaps this is why pastor conferences feel like bars?

Trust seekers are "good friends", Respect seekers are "desired": I had a good friend in high school whom girls flocked to. I wanted girls, too! But I had friends. I had been trained/taught to generate trust, not respect. I envied my 'player' friend.

I can choose! I realized yesterday that this information allows me to deliberately choose one way or the other. I think we also have natural-bent. I am predicting (haven't thought this one out fully) that 'pastors' are Trust seekers and 'teachers' are Respect seekers (in their current, late-moderntiy, U.S.A. contexts!!).

Long-term Loss or Payoff: Perhaps there are times when I should(?) focus on Respect? If I am in a short-term (2 days or less) situation, might it be better for me to establish Respect (more than Trust) so as to achieve maximum impact?
- But what about those who discipled me that focued on Respect. Is that why I don't talk to them anymore? maybe even not-respect them anymore?
- Should a presidential candidate even TRY to gain my trust? Why not just go after my respect! But a Congressional candidate might work for trust due to the potential, long-term relationship with my state.

My Ego :: Trust has no shock or wow: But sheep follow a shepherd they trust. And since I am not the Chief Shepherd, where does that leave me?

Facing the real point of this post: am I okay getting my significance obeying the Chief Shepherd and not from the 'respect' of the sheep?

** It reminds me of Dungeons and Dragons in the 80's!! Create a fake world, work hard to get respect (power), and try to spend as much time as possible in the fake world. Eventually, one comes to believe that the virtual world is more real than the physical world.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've been to this place of violence

A very good man, Sami, is being used by God to help alter the Israeli/Palestinian situation. Sami is committed to non-violent protests in the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area.

The post he writes (here) is about a hill I have been on - I walked into the guard-houses, walked around the hill, saw the construction of the park mentioned in the post. I, too, was forced off the hill by the military. When I was there, there were no settlers (they had already left). But the Israeli army forced us off Palestinian land. Us and the other non-violent, international group. Very surreal.

And now it has obviously gotten worse. I am very, very sad.

I would ask that you read the post above. From what I saw when I was there, I fully believe that Sami is writing with extreme accuracy (except for the part about the big-game animal reference - grin) about what happened/happens. I also know that Sami's commentary at the end is true to his heart. It is amazing to me that he can still have those thoughts after this many years. You can read about some significant parts of his story in Brother Andrews' book Light Force.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hide and Seek with the Holy Spirit

I've been wrestling with myself as it pertains to my thinking about and relationship with the Holy Spirit (i.e. God). My 'issue' is that I was raised inside a Modern-Western -> Evangelical -> Large Church (increasing results are important) -> Non-Charismatic tradition (that list was intended to be more-and-more precise).

Then I was exposed to the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and in OT prophecy. The ridiculous living of the Apostles after Jesus' resurrection began to make sense.

Then I was exposed to Gordon Fee, _God's Empowering Presence_ in particular. Then 'my eyes were opened' to the self-focused tendency that's all-but built-in to the current rendition of "absolute truth" and Bibliolatry.

Then I listened to Ted Wueste talk about how a "relationship with God" is probably not so much what I thought it was (see

CURRENT ASSESSMENT: Sin is the act of disconnecting from God as the source of life-and-direction BY finding MYSELF as the source, entrusting MYSELF to find life-and-direction.

A bit ethereal... so I'm going to try to live with two thoughts consuming me.
(1) What does it mean for Jesus to really, REALLY be Lord (of my life, of this universe, of all time)
(2) What does it mean for me to 'be connected' to God as my source of life (physical needs, significance, 'strength', etc.) and direction (what I do and don't do, what I plan for/about).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

a dream about John 13

What if Christians stopped asking their friends to "go to church" to "get saved"...

And instead, asked their friends to "go to church" to "meet the people of God" or "see what God's like ('His Body')" or "to meet some people who will walk through life with you"?