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Showing posts from February, 2009

Money

In a time when so many people are losing jobs I don't feel great about talking about my financial woes since I have a terrific job. But the whole point of this blog is to keep a chronicle of how my thought life is developing, and well, finances sometimes impact my thought life.
So my parents have been graciously been paying my student loan for many years, but the recession and other factors have hit them too, and so now they can't afford to keep doing it. Now we have an extra 200 bucks a month in expenses. It's interesting timing. I had just got a raise that just put us in a state of feeling like we would have a little breathing room. I just adjusted our tithe to account for the raise. In fact, I want to talk about tithe for a minute… First off, I don't think the concept of a tithe (that is giving 10% of your gross wages to the church) is an imperative for Christians. The tithe was instituted in ancient Israel as a tax. It covered both religious and civil inf…

Why do we do what we do?

A question I've been more a more interested in lately. Here's a theory I've not come up with a rebuttal for:

We only do what we want to do.

At first, it seems easy to find counter-examples to this. In fact, every day I get out of bed and suffer through about half and hour of feeling like crap. I don't want to ever get out of bed. Unless I've slept at least 11 hours and can lay there for 20 minutes or so. I also have worked at McDonalds and Jack in the Box. I also clean the bathtub from time to time. Diaper changes, tithe paying, exercise and countless other things I've done despite wishing that I was doing something else. But the thing is that all of these things I do are being done in service to something that I DO want to do. I clean the bathtub because I don't want to bathe in filth. I changed diapers because I wanted to be a good father and husband. I pay tithe because I want to be in a community of believers that I support. I exercise becau…

Prayer and Free Will

My mom just got back from Rwanda where she was doing missionary/teaching work. I'm very proud of her. I had a daily itinerary for her trip so I could pray for specific things she would be dealing with. What I found is that I was spending 90% of my prayer undermining people's free will. I never really thought about until I stopped believing in free will, but man, we 'prayer warriors' (Evangelicaleese for: people who actively petition God on an aggressive schedule.) are all about actively attacking people's ability to make decisions completely on their own. Here are a few examples from my recent prayers:
God, please keep the guards calm and peaceful as my mother passes checkpoints.
God, please help the government officials and shipping workers to be honest when they deliver Mom's books to the library.
God, please open the women's minds to the alternative food sources Mom is proposing to them.
(There were plenty of non-will related prayers as well such as k…

Out On a Limb

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So my pastor and my dad have both expressed concern that my meandering thought life is leading me to destruction. My pastor said it's only 20 percent of the time. And my dad, I think it's only when he reads this blog. Both of them seem to see my thinking as proclamations of defiance in the face of trusted authority. What seems to confuse them both is that they associate my analytical process with a lack of faith/hope, and cynicism or a skeptical attitude. I suppose this is because they perceive that most people who question their religious doctrine as openly and deeply as I do have a cynical personality or a 'bad' motive. They have lost hope, they ridicule faith, etc. I don't know if this perception of others who have traveled this thought-path is accurate or not, but I know it certainly is not the case for me. Both my pastor and my dad know me well enough to know that I'm not a cynical or angry person, and I think that's causing some confusion for …