Friday, December 25, 2009

evidence 1: wrapping paper

Devout evolutionists, particularly those with arms raised skyward in protest against the idea of an intelligent creator, posit that life has resulted in this blank and isolate universe due to a series of random evolutionary shifts in cosmically-charged biological and chemical interactions.

Devout creationists, particularly those with hands wedged deeply into their pockets (clutching tightly to their iPhones and blackberries) in protest against the idea of randomly-happening life, posit that our existence has resulted, within this largely blank and isolate universe, due to, in large part, “God.”

I am on a mission (or what some scientists may call an “experiment”) to figure out which belief is “more right.” I’m looking for evidence, and I’m starting from the assumption that every one of my encounters (interpersonal and intrapersonal, real and virtual) will fork-over data to help make sense of, … in this experimental case, … one of only two possible answers:

HYPOTHESES

Ho: There is not an intelligent designer
H1: There is an intelligent designer

This is a video of wrapping paper, and I think the footage offers evidence supporting the hypothesis (Ho) that there is NOT an intelligent designer. If an intelligent designer existed, one would only find “certain” things (as if by intelligent choice) wrapped in paper. That almost everything is wrapped in paper would support the hypothesis (Ho) that wrapping paper occurs randomly.




If wrapping paper were NOT random, one would find only certain things papered-over. The evidence might then illustrate a strategic selection of wrapping paper. Perhaps the shower curtain, but not the shower brush, would be papered.

This video illustrates how wrapping paper *may* simply “occur,” with no pre-existing thought, behavior, or plan.

It would appear that this experiment (“EVIDENCE 2010)” has, thus far, yielded the following results:

Ho: +1
H1: +0

Now before I go-off, "hoof-in-mouth," proclaiming that universal randomness rules the day, more data should be gathered.

… and remember, this is all anonymous.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

evidence: the preface

I'm new to faith.


I want to believe in God.

But I thirst for proof of God, which is related to faith in very strange ways.

"What's a thirsty guy to do?" one may say. Look for evidence?

Now that seems easy. So let's try:

Until it gets old, I am going to throw out (right here on this sparsely visited and tended to blog in the desert) some of the random events, and/or people, and/or encounters that I personally experience. Then, I'm going to digest those in a way that beats with the heart of complete anonymity (don't tell anyone). One of two explanations will do. To simplify matters:

Either God is real. Or, it's all BS.

Let me say that differently, and in terms that make scientific sense:

HYPOTHESES

Ho: There is not an intelligent designer
H1: There is an intelligent designer

OUTCOMES
I will find evidence supporting Ho or H1.

(p.s. - I'm ripping-off this idea from my good friend and mentor, Steve Fuller. I'm just making it different, ... kind of doing it in a better way.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

sensemaking elsewhere



This video does a pretty good job of illustrating how different people make sense of things quite differently. What is more interesting to me, however, is how for the really, really BIG ideas, ... like God, there seems to be a lot of agreement across cultures. In fact, there are some striking similarities among all of the world's major religions. Now there is some really big differences too, particularly if one goes from cultures that embrace Islam to cultures that embrace Christianity to cultures that embrace Hinduism or Judaism or Buddhism, etc.

If we look for the similarities, they are there, and if we look for the differences, they are there too. We will find what we seek, right? So how do we make sense of Jesus in a world with other gods?

Nancy Cain writes: "In the book Jesus Among Other Gods, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias tackles these kinds of tough questions posed by postmodern people. Are all religions equally valid? Can one determine spiritual truth? Does man even need God? Don’t Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus all merely represent different paths to the same God?

Jesus Among Other Gods focuses on the major world religions of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. The author compares the claims of Jesus Christ with those of the spiritual leaders of other religions.

Helpful insight in the blending of Eastern and Western understanding is laced throughout the book. Zacharias has lived in both cultures. From that perspective, he brings in cultural nuances and observations many authors would miss.

In this serious work, Zacharias presents the clear differences between who Jesus said He is and how Jesus lived His life, contrasted with the life and claims of other religious leaders. The focus of the book is Jesus’ distinctive response to questions of identity and origin.

At the beginning of the new millennium, Christians find themselves to be living in a religiously sensitive time. “Philosophically, you can believe anything, so long as you do not claim it to be true,” Zacharias said. “Morally, you can practice anything, so long as you do not claim it to be a 'better' way. Religiously, you can hold to anything, so long as you do not bring Jesus Christ into it. How does one, to a mood such as this, communicate the message of Jesus Christ, in which Truth and absoluteness are not only assumed, but sustained?"

How do you make sense of Jesus among other gods?


Monday, December 7, 2009

where are they?



I've been thinking: Theories of Evolution and Natural Selection would make a whole lot more sense if we had more (inter) galactic friends. It almost seems like our existence is not so random after all.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

doubt

It's always been interesting to me how God comes through to "simply-broken people like me." It's never how "you think" you want or need it, ... but He always comes through, ... often in ways that make no sense.

I threw-up grace ... regurgitated, into the universe, my doubt, ...shirked the possibility of Nobel Existence for the sake of selfish death, ... and my good friends, ... who've experienced and lived with similar questions faith, ... asked me to read a book, ... which has been on my shelf for probably 3 years now, ... never having read it, ... up until now.

Brennan Manning (1990, 2000) writes in the "
Ragamuffin Gospel:"

"You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek anything, do not perform anything, do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted."

If that happens to us, we experience grace" (Manning, 2000, p. 29).

... and wow, what an awakening.

Manning (2000) goes on earlier talking about coming to terms with that gift in saying, "My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it" (p. 27), ... and in reading that, .... like messages in bottles, ... I'm reminded of the mess that God finds me in, ... and I'm reminded of the belief that there is no-thing I need to do but accept Him accepting me.

My doubt has been temporarily erased, ... and when it comes back, ... and I know that it will, ... I will try to remember that there is no-thing I can do to make God love me more, ... and there is no-thing that I have done, ... or will do, ... to make God love me less.

He just loves me, ... and if I love Him (through Jesus) back ... nothing is impossible. When I follow our Brother toward our Father, ... I'm in Grace. And even when I don't follow, ... grace is till here, ... but He wants me like a father wants his son, .. . full of joy and peace, ... being humbled by the confidence of indescribable acceptance , ... and so my most important first-step is to listen and follow, .... knowing that our Father loves me too (!), regardless my worshiping moments and treasures of what's fallen.

"For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is a gift. All that is good is ours not by right by by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned -- our degree and our salary, our home and garden, a Miller Lite and a good night's sleep -- all this is possible only because we've been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love" (Manning, 2000, p. 26).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You(r) Tube? Really? It might belong to someone else.





I love it when anyone talks about God in the Context of Communication.

The question for me is: Does God use the internet? Or, are we just using the internet and looking for a way to fit God into our use?

... should I be reading the bible right now instead of drinking Millers and watching Youtube?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

proof of "random" or "intelligent" design?




I've been doubting my faith lately, and so what's a guy to do but surf the internet looking for answers?

By the way, what's the chance that "You Tube," and/or the "Internet" for that matter, both occurred randomly? It's almost like someone intentionally created them.

....hmmmm......

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What if God was an NFL referee?

I talked with one of my best friends in the world tonight. Larry and his wife, Donna, live in Tucson, Arizona. He told me, on the phone, how he escaped near-death for the second time.

It should be noted that Larry suffered a major heart attack about five years ago. He died for a few minutes.

Just a few weeks ago, he wrecked a motorcycle, and his heart didn’t give out this time.

We talked about this fact, … his heart, … extensively, … which got us into talking about life and stuff.

Larry is a “non-sometimes-wants to be-recovering Catholic-believer.”

After talking politics, sports, etc., I told him about playing football with Ethan, my son, today.

I know the game of football.

Ethan knows how to run around the backyard like all three and a half year old boys do, and he knows how much fun it is to tackle and chase after the ball in the grass. He doesn't know the rules.

He will someday know the “game” of football, but right now Ethan only knows what he knows.

So, I told Larry that I found myself standing with the football in my hand, … frustrated, ... with decades worth of football knowledge, … knowing all the rules … watching my son run around the yard, ... he, ... wanting to do nothing else but get dirty and muddy while laughing and having fun, … me wanting ... him to just understand the importance of “hike.”

And Larry thought that God might watch motorcycle crashes too.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

viral emails?

Periodically, a viral email comes floating my way, and I typically take a quick glance and then delete them. Not so much because they're not funny or interesting, but I delete them because I'm busy at the time or bogged down with other emails, etc.

With that said, one of these viral emails recently came across my desk, and I actually had time to read it. And, ... it's pretty funny. With that said, ... it's pretty political too, ... which is why it's funny.


Check it out and tell me what you think. Do you think it's funny? Is it funny because it's true? Or, am I just another jerk passing along a viral political email?




THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER


This one is a little different.... Two Different Versions................. Two Different Morals


OLD VERSION


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.


The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away..


Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.


The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.


MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


MODERN VERSION


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.


The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.


Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.


CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.


America is stunned by the sharp contrast.


How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?


Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'


Acorn stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Rev. Jeremiah Wright then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.


President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.


Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.


Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.


The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.


The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.


The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.


The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.


The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it. MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010.


Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm not a cat from Brooklyn...



... just sensemaking in cincinnati.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nobel Fodder?




"Maurice McCrackin (1905-1997) was an American civil rights and peace activist, tax resister and Presbyterian minister. McCrackin started a community church in Cincinnati after gaining notoriety for refusing to pay federal taxes. Many of his former parishioners followed him to the small building on Dayton Street in Cincinnati where he preached, ran services, baptized babies, and performed weddings and funerals.

He was a principled pacifist all of his life. He was active in the struggle for racial equality and an end to militarism in the United States. McCrackin was well known to the state's attorneys office as he was arrested over and over again in protests. Rev. McCrackin was also active in the fight for prisoner's rights and spent much time visiting convicts. Once, he was abducted by a man that he had visited in jail and rather than see him incarcerated again, refused to testify against him. The district attorney in Cincinnati jailed McCrackin for weeks because of this incident."



Friday, October 9, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

hall of fame?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

... classic ... "fountain of youth."





Rakim?

sensemaking in cincinnati: Noah's Ark?

sensemaking in cincinnati: Noah's Ark?

sleepless in cincinnati




It's almost 12:00-noon on Thursday. I've already sucked down about four cups of coffee, but I am exhausted.

My wife has been taking "night-duty" with our baby-girl this first six weeks of her little life because she, my wife Jen, is still on maternity leave. I've gone back to work, so Jen is allowing me to sleep when Riley wakes up throughout the night ... to eat ... or because she has a dirty diaper ... or because she just wants to be held for a while.

And then last night happened.

Riley just wouldn't sleep, ... at all ... which is unusual. Jen typically sneaks in two or three hours in between waking-sessions, but last night was different. The little girl just wouldn't sleep, and she wouldn't stop crying unless she was being held. Her crying woke me up several times, so I decided to get out of bed to see what was happening in the nursery. I walked in the door, and Jen looked at me as if was on the verge of collapse. It was around 2:00 and she had been up all night, unable to even put the baby down for more than a few minutes.

She insisted I go back to bed. But I knew better.

So, I took baby-Riley out to the family room, and Jen went to bed to get at least a few hours of sleep. I laid back in the chair, Riley on my chest, and tried to get some sleep too, which worked "sort of." I'm still not sure why, but the little girl was just restless. She never really fell into a deep, consistent sleep, and neither did I.

(Now, please don't applaud me. Quite literally, I've been feeling sorry for myself all stinking day because I had to stay up ...just one night out of, ... hmmm, ... six weeks worth of nights! Save your applause for the worthy.)

Morning came. I went to the gym, then to work. And now I'm exhausted. But as I'm sitting here at my desk, working while listening to background music, ... a particular song, ... one that I've heard many, many times, ... comes on. It's the one in the video above.

And for the first time in my hearing it many, many times, ... I get it. I understand it.

And even though I'm still very tired, I wouldn't trade sleepless moments with my little girl snuggled on my chest for anything in the world.

Thanks, God.

Friday, September 25, 2009

my first publication (that someone could actually buy!)



I've been writing over the last several years and have been able to eek out a few publications. The problem as been that all of the manuscripts have been been published for academic audiences, which means that in most probability, only a handful of people (academics) will ever read it.

It's the nature of academic writing: You write for a very small and specialized group.

Well, my fourth piece is a little different. I was asked to contribute a chapter for a book titled: "Sexuality Matters: Paradigms and Policies for Educational Leaders." And from what I could initially tell, the audience was going to once again be academics, which means that only a handful of people would ever even see it, much less read it.

But then I got an email from my one of the contributing editors. The email contained a link to Amazon.com, where in, ... believe it or not, ... one could actually purchase the book!

During a lunch this week, I asked "said" editor, "am I going to be able to go to ... say ... Barnes and Noble and actually see this book on a shelf? To which he replied, yes, but you will probably be getting your own copy from the publishers, so don't go buy one.

I smiled and said, "I don't want to go to a bookstore and buy the book, ... I just want to be able to go to a bookstore and see that I have something there, that I wrote, that I could buy!" He laughed and understood that this is probably a bigger deal for me than it is for him.

So, I've kind of done it, ... sort of. I have a piece of my writing that will be sold in the same store as Chuck Palahniuk or Anne Lamott, ... not that I have any delusions that I am of their writing calibre.

But, it's neat. I feel pretty good about the accomplishment.

Sexuality Matters is published by Rowman & Littlefield (September 28, 2009). The title of my chapter is: "Deconstructing Silos: Non-LGBTQ Educators and the Subjects of the Urban Classroom."


If you are so inclined, ... check it out. I am really proud of the piece.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

betrayal is hard



wow

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

underpants


I started thinking about this post because I've figured-out pants. Actually, what I figured out is that I like wearing pants. But really, it's a specific pair of pants that I'm talking about, ... and that's not the whole story.

It's more that I have become accustomed to wearing a specific pair of pants: Black Dockers.

But it's not these pants that ... I love, ... nor is it that I really like pants that much. Rather, it's becoming "accustomed to" that which I've grown to "being accustomed."

The black dockers sort of ... fit me (emphasis on "sort of"). I wear them everyday, no less. They are indeed black, ... although they are starting to turn a lighter shade of reddish-grey where the sun sees them, ... or where my hands hit them when slapping my thighs while laughing or crying, ... feeling nervous and alone, ... or where my hands rest while living ridiculously and pleasantly as oblivious as an ostridge is to a sandstorm.

Black pants go well with shirts and ties, particularly when wearing black shoes and black belt ... and more importantly they go well with the rest of my mess. Pants are one less thing that, ... I think ... need to be worried about. They are "automatic" -- always available when I need them, busted stitches and fade. No working for, no thinking about, ... just comfortably available to abuse.

And there's the rub.

We took 12, ... yes twelve, bags of clothes to "Good Will" recently. Eee-billy-Gad, what a relief! To get rid of all baggage, ... some of those things that weigh us comfortably-down, is mighty, mighty nice.

But, my black dockers were not a part of that party. And it's not for the fact that many other garments deserved a lesser destiny than to ... succumb to thoughtless and effortless slaps from the sun.

They, my black dockers, were salvaged much like other things in my life because ... I am afraid to give-up, to turn-over, to live, to be alive, ... to trade-away those things which make me feel ... safe????

The fact is that I am afraid, and becoming "accustomed-to" is the hole-in-shifting-sand that I find myself hiding in. I hold onto those things which by no means, ... as they say, ... "become me," ... as told in a story greater than I have the capacity, proclivity and authority to write about.

And for anyone looking, these pants are terrible. I imagine that onlookers gawk. They are most probably asking themselves, ... in small groups comprised of hip-folk in smart shorts and neck-ties, or in cooly-ripped and prefabed-damaged jeans, "why is this weird guy wearing these stupid pants ... and why is there sand in his hair?"

So, from now on, ... when I perceive that my head is buried, ... when I am hanging onto things that clearly are not "becoming," ... perhaps the very first thing that I should do is take the pants off, ... leaving, ... for all on-lookers, ... the sight of arms and legs dangling in the air like a naked Halloween ornament.

And now for underwear, ... marching on.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

can you believe this?



A friend of ours is currently teaching in S. Korea, and during a recent visit back to the states he was telling me about how it seems that the people there often seem to be operating with a "singular collective mind." I sort of see what he was talking about here. Amazing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

like special effects?

... down the memory lane of cinematic magic in five minutes, 6 seconds:

Friday, August 28, 2009

a hard-hitting interview

video

three-and-a-half-year-old sensemaking...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

going it alone? you're not built for it.


We just watched a movie called "The Soloist."  Aside from me highly recommending the movie, ... if you happen to rent it, I urge you to check out the DVD extras.  In particular, take a look at the short clip called "Beth's Story."  (also above)

As I write this, my family and friends are happily inviting young Riley into the world.  But this movie reminded me of all the people out there so desperately needing to experience Love Winning.  

There are lots of ways to do that.  

Just ask and listen.  

But if you're stumped, Faces Without Places is a local organization that would be a good starting place.

Monday, August 17, 2009

my first movie!

video

... how did we do?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Contagious Grace

I've recently been listening to a book (yup, have stooped to such, ... but it's better than listening to talk radio, right?) titled "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne, and it is pretty interesting. Shane does a really good job painting the picture of God's Kingdom as was originally articulated by Jesus. And as I'm listening to the parts about radical love, ... about when affronted by wrong, one should turn the other cheek and show radical grace, ... I'm being challenged to rethink how I react to other people.

I mean, what would happen world-over if we just started to see even our enemies as sons and daughters of Our God? What if we began to see those that do wrong as Jesus sees them? What if we could show uncanny grace in those times when our worldly intellect and temper screams out for justice and retribution?

Would it be contagious? Could there be an infection of grace that would be passed from one being to the next, ... all eventually becoming ravaged by Viral Love?




What would the world do to stop the outbreak?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

ONE WAY FARM

One of the coolest things about my job is the incredible people I get to meet. One of those people is Barbara Condo, the director of an organization called "One Way Farm." It is an organization that supports the healing of severely abused children.

Check it out:

"One Way Farm Children's Home provides residential care 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Our agency provides an Animal Education Therapy Program, an Employment Training Program, Counseling Services and a Youth Program to further the healing of our children, all very unique programs. We have served approximately 8,000 children and have been in business since 1976. We are licensed by the Job and Family Services and serve children from throughout the State of Ohio."

Barbara runs this organization from her residence, and she is passionate about loving children out of brokenness. It is not surprising that Barbara is a Believer.

If you have a moment, take a look at the letters written by some the the children, ... and then if you are up to it, take a look at some of their needs.

It's easy stuff.

Love Wins.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

like bunnies?

... then don't watch this.




... this guy seems to have "a thing" for twenties-era art.


*******
I just noticed the caption for the video. Please note that while it reads "Me in my Bunny Sleeper," the "Me" in that sentence does not mean "me."

I have a ducky sleeper.

Friday, July 17, 2009

getting air

We are born into this world with a taste for Perfection because our Maker knows us, and He loves us where we are.

Maybe He puts us into the world like a father would put his son into a 1993 Toyota Celica GT.

We take our first hard-turn-left at 90 MPH.

He knows that the vehicle is much too fast, and He knows that the chances of dying are patiently real.

But He allows us to wildly "fly" into a torn, incomplete, broken, uncertain, ... imperfect certainty.

We speed toward destruction and death.

He knows the enemy's tools: our desire to drive fast, ... for the road to succumb to our will.

But He also knows the possibilities found in choosing the road blazed by His Son.

And with every moment of Listen, He reminds us that BIRDS learn to fly off-road, ... where even blistered tires have no traction.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

"socialism works!"

We went to the North Side parade today, and it was great. I really like North Side because it is eclectic and different. Lot's of different types of people ... all doing different types of things.

For example, one float had a bunch of drag-queens holding and displaying a diversity of politically oriented signs.

I love that stuff, particularly when eccentricities are compounded.

In particular, I loved one fine individual dancing and jumping around a float platform named "Guerilla Queer Bar", ... belly shirt, red-white-blue boy-shorts, and hairy belly that appeared to be pierced. Just imagine that "We Are the Champions" was blaring as this "boy shorts" superhero is jumping around the stage with enough energy to strike a match in someone else's shirt-pocket.

She/He was holding a neon-green sign reading, ... "Socialism Works!"

Happy Independence Day, America!




"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." ~ Soren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

there is no spoon ..

... made of lead, ... melted down into a molten liquid, ... and now cooling in my mouth ... for me to in just a second, ... spit out as a semi-solid, yet searing-hot, state ... in order to burn Korean Morpheus:




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