Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bad To Be Good

A local Pastor recently got charged with domestic violence. Here is what he told the Court:

“I’m the pastor of a church for almost 30 years teaching people to be good...”

And THERE is the problem. Being a Christian isn’t about being good. People can be good without believing in God. They can’t do so logically, but lack of coherence isn’t a show stopper.

Many people go to college to get a job instead of to learn. But the best students really want to learn. They have the curiosity that inspires them to study. As a result, they get good grades and tend to get the best jobs as a side effect.

Many people go into politics for money, power and prestige, but the best politicians aren’t really politicians at all. They are leaders, change agents who wanted to make a difference.

Many, many rich people (arguably most) didn’t set out to be rich. Instead, they pursued their interests, leveraging their skills, to produce a better product or service. The wealth came because they were really good at what they chose and they were in the right place at the right time.

The Government is trying to alleviate poverty with Welfare, however they are actually unintentionally supporting and expanding it. For a Government to be effective in fighting poverty, it has to get out of the way and do everything it can to empower individuals, churches and other organizations to battle it (see "Jesus Was Not A Welfarist",

Sailboats are adequate for transportation, but most people don’t sail merely to get from point A to B. The destination is usually just an excuse for the journey.

When I realize that I can’t be good, I begin to seek God’s grace. In finding that grace, my love for Him grows. Out of that love, goodness flows.

"The only people who get better are people who know that, if they never get better, God will love them anyway."
— Steve Brown (A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel)

And for more great Steve Brown Quotes:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Imaginative Faith For An Imaginative Reality

Could you remind me how the Trinity works? And could you explain to me again this idea of grace?" One diligent student had no problem grasping Islam. She had no problem understanding religions based on a concept of exchange—do something for a god and he'll do something for you. But she was legitimately confused about Christianity: "The Quran is simple. Why is Christianity complicated?"
Christianity is complicated because reality is complicated. Show me a simple religion, and I’ll show you one that is not real.

"Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn't have guessed. That's one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It's a religion you couldn't have guessed."
--The Case for Christianity
Christianity tells us what man-made religions like Islam or Hinduism do not: That at a specific historical moment God experienced intimately torture, abandonment, overwhelming loss, and unjust death.
Factoid: Jesus is asked 183 questions in the Gospels. He answers just three of them—and he asks 307 questions back.

Truth Is Stranger Than Science Fiction

It seems egotistical to believe that we are alone in the entire universe, considering how large it is.
That is one very common opinion that I heard recently while talking to a few friends. I appreciate and agree but can also imagine another perspective:

What if we ARE alone because LIFE is special? What if we are alone because life is precious and to be THAT treasured?

The answer to the question of alien life hasn't been conclusively determined, however we already know that it takes very special conditions for a planet to be able to accommodate life.

Astronomers are just now finding some planets that might be habitable. Scientists have found over 400 exoplanets and can count 54 of them as possibly being in the habitable zone (

Given this sample (admittedly too small to be considered representative), 13% of these planets MIGHT be able to support life. And this is just based upon the distance these planets are from their star and the average temperature needed for these planets to have water to support life as we know it.

This "rare earth" consciousness seems to be a driving force behind the conservationist movement today. The harder it is to find another earth-like planet, the more we appreciate things we take for granted like clean air, clean water and fossil fuels. We are more conscientious of being good stewards of our Earth's natural resources, as we look at life on earth as being the exception within the known universe.

Truth has a habit of defying our imagination.

While it is harder to imagine that we might be alone, this is kind of what I would expect. When men first discovered that the sun rotated around the earth, that the earth was round and that there is this force called gravity, all of these discoveries stretched our imaginations. Einstein's theory of relativity, as it concluded that even time is relative defied our imaginations as we thought about the possibility of flying in space at the speed of light and time slowing down to allow us to virtually travel into the future. Belief in God defies imagination.

Atheism is the failure of the imagination in bridging the gaps between empiricism and reality.

Which statement is easier to prove?

Reason stretches imagination's boundaries.
Imagination stretches reason's boundaries.

From a "God perspective", on one hand it seems very wasteful for Him to have created the entire cosmos and yet only created one little blue dot as the only host for life.

But on the other hand, if He wanted to inspire in us a profound sense of gratitude and thankfulness, what better way could He have done so than by making the Earth the only host of life, in a celestial sea of stars and rocks?

And if the heavens declare His glory, then from a Christian perspective I might ask, "Is the universe large enough?"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Hearing the World Through the Sounds of Music" speech to Mensa

I had the privilege of speaking to a Mensa regional gathering on April 2.

Here is an edited audio of my speech entitled, "Hearing the World Through the Sounds of Music".

The speech was focused on deriving a philosophical and spiritual worldview from principles seen in music. I interspersed some improvisational guitar into the lecture for demonstration purposes and to hold attention spans.