Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thoughts and questions about Genesis, Job, and the first part of Exodus

I bought the One Year Chronological Bible (NLT) a week or two after the new year and the Moses just led the Israelites out of Egypt. I have a few thoughts on what I've read so far.

In more ways than one, Genesis is like the shows on TV. (Clearly, I'm making and stretching an analogy here, please bear with me.) The first twelve chapters are obviously something out of sci-fi or other over-the-top genre; the rest are like a soap or reality show: a tangled mess of relationships and humans doing human things. There were many times where I had to stop and ask myself, "Did that really just happen?" On stories I've read and known about for ages, none-the-less!

Job was... confusing. After reading it, I'm not entirely sure if it is perfectly historical. (In the same sense that we have "Based on a True Story" stories today.) I am also confused about how the characters acted. Until God rebuts Job, I got the feeling that Job was being... I'm not sure how to express it. Not modest and highly presumptuous, perhaps? His friends were definitely preaching the prosperity gospel, but I have read some commentary stating material goods was part of the old covenant—not sure about that, though.

I've heard it commonly said that Job is a good book to read to understand loss and sorrow. While the question of suffering is clearly prominent, God's response doesn't seem to even touch the question. Job challenges God about justice, God responds with, "Why are you questioning me? I'm God." There is clearly other issues at play here. I'm reminded of how Jesus mentioned people dying in a tower that fell (Luke 13:1-5). He didn't address the issue of why they died or why there was suffering, simply, "Repent!".

Also, I don't know how much better of a description of a classic, fire-breathing, reptilian, monster-sized, DRAGON we could ask for from Bible. The leviathan fits each of those categories and more! The only issue I saw was that the leviathan is stated to be a sea creature, not a land creature.

If God can't stand evil in his presence, how does the Accuser enter his court?

Reading through the plagues of Egypt, I'm wondering God means when he says he has "hardened the heart of Pharaoh." I know it's an old question, and one that many people have asked before (and continue to do so); yet, I have yet to find an answer for it (admittedly, I haven't done much research).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Analysis of "Nobody Deserves to be Perfect"

A friend of mine shared a photo on Facebook with some text that caught my attention. Normally, I don't think too hard on these kind of motivational pictures; sometimes I think the sayings are cute, but ultimately they are merely platitudes with little context that could be applied to nearly any circumstance. However, this particular phrase got under my skin. I was going to simply comment on the picture, but (as usual) my thoughts well exceeded a reasonable Facebook comment (or post, for that matter). The phrase, which was taken from a larger text, is reproduced here:
"Nobody is perfect, and nobody deserves to be perfect. ..." 
 — Nytiesha Monta*
"Nobody deserves to be perfect." It's a bit flipped around—normally you are deserving of something when you are perfect, but this phrase is implying you have to deserve even the chance to be perfect. You could say you have to be meta-perfect to deserve to be perfect.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What does it mean to be smart?

While at Chick-fil-a with my church's youth group, one of the middle schoolers and I had a lengthy conversation about all sorts of things. Well... perhaps conversation isn't quite the best word. It was more of a constant rolling through the beginnings of a conversation. I normally dislike people who flit and flutter between topics like a bee through a flower garden, but tonight my friend's tendency to willfully abandon every attempt at anything more than a few short sentences for each topic captivated my attention. Besides, I didn't have much else to do, and I wasn't about to go home for the night.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Do you believe airplanes fly?

Do you believe airplanes fly? Of course you do; you see them every day in the sky. You go to your hangar with your plane and your friends, and everybody is happy. What kind of person could deny such a self-evident fact as airplanes flying?

Leaving your hangar where all of your friends are, you venture out into the world to let other people know what joyous times you and your friends are having with planes. You have flown your plane around the world, seen many beautiful things with your plane, and with it done many great things for your community and the world.

You know the aircraft manual inside and out. You have studied it forwards and backwards, trying to get the most out of your beautiful flying machine. At the slightest sign of trouble on your flights, you head straight to the manual: it has the answer for everything that could go wrong. The manual also details how a pilot is to properly treat his guests—on and off the plane. This particular section is a favorite studying topic for you and your pilot friends.

Some of your pilot friends tell you of people outside the hangar who have never flown on an airplane, don't think they would be much fun at all, and doubt planes could fly at all. What's more, some even have the audacity to insist planes don't exist! Not believing your friend, and wanting to show him up, you venture out into the world—surely something as awesome as riding an airplane is something everyone would do!

To each person you meet, you tell of your plane, how everybody can ride for free—they only need ask! It's so much fun, it will be great! When asked about details, you refer to the manual; it specifies why people should fly and how they can fly—both very easy to do.

You go all over town—the market, the university, the city hall—trying to find people who don't believe in planes. You find not only are there some people just as your friend described, you find, to your horror, most people haven't flown. That they don't want to. And, they don't think planes can fly. Several were quite hostile, questioning your intellect, wondering if you were mentally ill! They constantly berated you for appealing to an "old book" full of nonsense—that book is the manual! It can't be wrong!

The one or two who actually engaged you in a somewhat-serious manner came up with questions and statements that—quite frankly—went over your head, and sounded like ridiculous objections to boot. Yes, your plane is perfectly awesome; you can't fathom how others' misfortunes affect your plane's awesomeness.

Who doesn't believe in a plane? You have seen one! You have flown in one! You have your very own plane!

You go back to your hangar, to your plane, to where you won't be made fun of, where you will be accepted. Your pilot friends shake their heads with you as you tell of your adventures outside the hangar, neither of you asking the real question: why don't they believe in planes? Or, if you do, you don't follow through and try to really understand the answer.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Faulty GPS Directions

You may or may not know this about me. It's something I've struggled with for years now. It is something many of my friends and peers seem to take for granted. They talk about it all the time. When they do talk about it, I lose focus, start drifting and pondering about the meaning of the whole thing and my handicap at doing it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

CS 1801 Journal 1—First Weeks

I wrote this for class, and realized this would make a great post summarizing my first weeks at Tech.