Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Scientists Can't Find God in My Brain

I suppose this study doesn't really provide evidence one way or another (in the debate over whether human beings are nothing but emobdied brains). Interesting, though. My guess is that they will never find a "God-spot" in the brain. However, even if they do, it merely establishes correlation (which was the goal of the study), not causation or identity. An experience of God is not identical to (exactly the same thing as) a certain brain state.

What Do They Know?

Since my muse seems to be on vacation, linking is the best I can muster right now. Here's a thought-provoking post from the Journal of Higher Ed on the mindset of today's college freshmen.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Must-Read

I don't say "must-read" often. In fact I haven't ever said it on my blog. But this post by Fred Sanders, Biola (Torrey Honors Institute) professor of theology, deserves the moniker.

Living With Nessie

I was discouraged after a recent tense episode with my wife. When will we ever resolve these issues that continually resurface like some lurking monster beneath a misty Scottish loch? Ten years have passed, and we are only seeing more deeply into the murky waters of our own sinfulness and pain. Anger, bitterness, estrangement -- they seem so insoluable. How can we go on, pretending that everything's OK, when our fragile vessel could be capsized at any given time by the leviathan?

Then it hit me. In my walk with God, it is not required of me that I have all my "issues" resolved. Neither should it be in my marriage. In fact, I have come to beleive that the life of faith simply is the act of living in the midst of pain and yuck while clinging desperately to God. Of course we pray for and purposefully pursue healing, forgiveness and change. But it is neither denial nor fantasy to move forward, to savor tender moments together, while Nessie slithers somewhere in the depths.

Swim away, Nessie. We're not waiting around for you. Someday we will be rid of you, but not yet. Not yet.
Thursday, August 17, 2006

I've Been Everywhere, Man (Well, not really)

Thanks to John "The Bearded" Hardy for this fun map generator. It pays having friends in geography.

Turns out my travels have been pretty caucasian, with the possible exception of Mexico.
Only 13 countries -- 5% of the world. A slow start.

create your own visited country map

Now as for the good ol' US of A, I've got John beat by 5 states. 37 out of 50! Those pesky Yankee states are just so inconvenient. They're not on the way to anywhere.

create your own personalized map of the USA
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Uhhh, Are These For Kids?

This is pretty dang funny. Extremely creative. Not sure who the intended audience is, though. Nursery rhymes done in rockin' style by Bono, Dave Matthews, et al.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Does God Need to Be Loved?

You may have heard of John & Stassi Eldredge's book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of A Woman's Soul. Here's a thoughtful review of it by Dr. Donna Thoennes (pronounced "tahnus," which makes for a fun name, reminiscent of this SNL character). She addresses the question posed in my post heading.
Thursday, August 10, 2006

What is Free Will?

I'm tackling a class entitled "Free Will & Responsibility" this semester. I've jumped into the first text already, and it is delicious. (I'm mixing metaphors, I know. Sounds like I'm jello-wrestling.) So, the question is already planted in my mind -- what, exactly, is free will?

I've worried about this quite a bit over the years. Does it mean that, at any given moment, I could make any choice? Now don't say something ridiculous like, "Could you choose to fly, smart guy?" What I mean is, among live options, could I choose anything? Or will my character, desires, etc. determine my choice?

Here's another spicy way to serve the question: If two people in two parallel worlds, who had exactly the same past, were faced with exactly the same choice at exactly the same time, must their choices be the same? Could Joe1 choose to vote Democrat and Joe2 choose Republican?

What do you think?
Monday, August 07, 2006


Eugene Peterson strings four words together, forming a new locution which describes a crucial aspect of the life of faith. I think I'm experiencing it, and it's not pleasant.

Life feels a little turbulent, out of control, frightening. Several Godzilla-sized monsters loom on the horizon, waiting to consume me. Unanswered questions. Fear of the future. Fear of failure. Potential crises, churning like a boiling pot of liquid, seem ready to spill over onto me.

Then I read Peterson's explanation of FOTL. He lists the tell-tale symptoms: it "includes all the emotions that accompany being scared -- the disorientation, the not-knowing what is to happen to me, the realization that there is far more here than I had any idea of."

When I came upon this paragraph (in Christ Plays), I felt like a lost man who had stumbled across a clue, carved on some ancient cave wall, that would lead him home. These horrible weights pressing down on my chest, with their suffocating darkness, were a gift from God. They drove me to pray as I hadn't prayed in months. They drove me to look outside myself. They drove me to God, home. The fear-of-the-Lord.

Hank Hill Goes Church Shopping

Ohhhh, I feel his pain. We don't really have a "megachurch" here, though.

(Hat Tip to Pastor Dave)
Sunday, August 06, 2006

Church Quest 2006

I'm enlisting you, my brave readers, as fellow adventurers in our noble quest. Perhaps you can shed some light on our situation. And remember, whatever this is we're doing, it isn't church-shopping. Here's where we are in the journey . . .

Church #1 -- the Nice, but unstable church

We've visited this one three times. The preaching is sound, but a little theatrical and betrays what appears to be a lack of spiritual depth. Kids' ministry leaves something to be desired -- seems to assume all children have ADD. Music is a little dated and the worship leader has televangelist hair. Good denomination, no doctrinal reservations.

Church #2 -- the potentially dogmatic church

Not sure how old this church plant is, but it is small. Meets in the Mizzou student union, which makes it easy to invite students/faculty, but limits what they can do with kids on Sunday. The pastor, who we have not met, appears (from his writings), to be of great spiritual and intellectual depth. Traditional, which is nice, but we would miss some of the contemporary music in worship. The denomination is sound, but has a particular take on things that I don't see eye-to-eye with. It all depends on how thick the dogma is -- if they turn up their noses at lesser theologies, we won't be comfortable there.

Church #3 -- the fundamentalesque church

Large college ministry, not too far away. Sound, biblical teaching. Kids ministries seem adequate. A little on the narrow side. Probably not much consumption of adult beverages or Dostoevsky. Lousy website.

Church #4 -- the anti-Crusade church

Everything we could want, except that they don't like Campus Crusade for Christ very much. I'm just not sure how that could work. I know that I am not identical to CCC, in fact I'm a bit of a maverick, but I believe in CCC enough to be a part of it. Also, a few relational difficulties with some folks there that haven't been resolved.

So, any comments?
Saturday, August 05, 2006


We are seeking a church home in our new city. We have always warned others of the perils of "church shopping" -- a big sin. Right up there with smoking and voting for Democrats.

So, since we're not shopping, what are we doing? Church-courting? Church-evaluating? We visit a church, we listen to the sermon, we sing the songs, we meet people, we read their doctrinal statements and vision plans . . . oh my God, we ARE shopping!

So, can someone define or explain to me what a "not-church-shopping" approach is? How should we go about finding the right place? Cast lots? What if we go to the WRONG church? Our lives will be ruined forever!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Haven't had the inspiration to write lately, probably because I'm wasting too much time looking at this (scroll down to the kitty cat dance), and this (play the music video).