Category Archives: Logic

Freedom’s little surprise

A few weeks ago, I was intrigued by a worship thought given by one of my MAU colleagues, Kris Sisodia. He had just returned from a visit in India, and had a lot of great photos and travel anecdotes that came together into practical worship thoughts. The first “thought” was my favorite, though. Our story takes place on the modern roadways of India.

Kris explained that the roads themselves are freeway-quality, comparable to many of the US’s major cities. 6 lanes, overpasses, exits, and the suburban streets are set up similarly as well. Rather nice.

Full of traffic, though. Just like here.

The best way to tell if you are in US traffic or India traffic, however, is probably the cows and the oxcarts.

cartontheroad

Yup. You’ll see the carts and cows along the roadway, sharing the same turnpike as the Corollas, Accords and Malibus. The usually go much slower, so if you’re driving by, you’ll probably want to get around them. But that can be hard to do when the traffic is like this:

traffic underpassmoretraffic

Basically, these parts of India are perfect examples of traffic anarchy. You may notice how there are lane markers, but no one is following them. There are no vehicle-type restrictions, and some people choose to just walk along the road. Not to mention, if the cows wander out onto the road, you can’t do anything to them. The cows are sacred, and must not be disturbed. Oh, and there are traffic signals, but good luck trying to go through your green light when three other cars are running their red light without a blink of an eye.

cowsonroadnolaneslilpileup

Also, Kris noted that many people still invested in nice cars. You might see BMWs and Mercedes and higher-end Toyotas, but usually the fastest you could ever get to go on these roads is about 35-40 mph….if you’re lucky. With this traffic anarchy, it doesn’t matter how fast you want to go. The cops aren’t going to stop you—but the traffic is. So all the money spent on these high-performance vehicles is pretty much wasted.

Oh, and they do have traffic rules. They even post signs of encouragement 😉

obey

It’s just that no one seems to follow them, no matter how nice the signs are. 🙂

Now Kris hardly had to summarize the symbolism in this part of his travelogue before we were all nodding our heads and saying, “ah yes, I see the connection here.”

Life is like a roadway in India.

The obvious lesson here is that the freedom to drive from A to B is increased when rules are enacted and followed. The less the rules are heeded, the less ability there is to drive safely, comfortably and even quickly!

Though some may associate anarchy with freedom, it’s not long before individual freedom is yanked away by all the other people trying to do things their own way. And we end up in a traffic jam.

In ways like this, the laws actually set us free, rather than restrict us.

I finally read Lord of the Flies last month. Cale was going over it in his sophomore literature class, and since I had never even picked it up before, I decided it was high time. The balance of rules vs freedom, of practicality vs more carnal desires, was the common theme throughout the story. People end up wanting rules. The total freedom that some twist into anarchy causes discord and fear, and people end up craving rules. Craving regulation. Yearning for order.

I’ll let y’all draw your own conclusions on how this fits into our daily lives, and our beliefs.

“To all perfection I see a limit;

but Your commands are boundless.

Oh, how I love your law!

I meditate on it all day long.

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies…”

Psalm 119: 96-98

 

 

(All photos taken by Kris. He was nice enough to share them with me.)

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Filed under Allegories, Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Logic, Spiritual Application, State of the world

What are we all arguing about?

Really, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I even scratched out an epiphany on the back of a bulletin while at church in St. Joseph, Missouri, since the words just came to me all at once–stream of consciousness style. Soon after, I thought, “I’m glad I finally wrote this down. Now I can do something about it.” I planned to blog about it. But then just thinking about it made me weary. I realized, I am just very weary of this subject in general. When it comes to differences between denominations, especially denominations that have experience with ex-Adventists, this seems to be where we argue:

“Are we under law or under grace?”

“What commandments still stand today?”

“Are we still required to keep the literal, 7th-day Sabbath?”

Most of the time I just want to throw up my hands at both sides. Forgive me if my tone here is not incredibly tactful or smooth, but this is the state of mind I am in when I think about this, and I can’t wait any longer to write it down.

We’re not getting anywhere on this argument. Sometimes it even feels like the other side is winning because there are more of them than there are us. But we’re not coming to any common ground because we’re hovering over the deeper, SIMPLER issue. First I ask, “why NOT keep the Sabbath? Why wouldn’t we want to?” or “Why NOT keep the 10 commandments?”

If we start at the other end, I think we’ll get farther than just arguing the original question. Honestly I’m still surprised that there are people that are so against the Sabbath. To me, that seems like the most nonthreatening “law” there is! Obviously those that are in a spirit of rebellion over the Sabbath are reacting against the way our own culture has made it, not the Biblical guidelines (which I think are made intentionally vague!!!)

Anyway, we are told all throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament, how to treat people. We find out what the fruits of the Spirit are. And we are told in many places Who the One True God is. If we live by those words and principles, we may find ourselves ENDING UP keeping the 10 commandments! Not because “it’s the law” but because it’s smart! Because it makes sense. The principles are there! And they are even recognized by most of society as the “right” things to do!

And on the other end of things, if we notice a person “breaking a commandment” and repeatedly falling into habits that are self-destructive or could make life difficult for them, we want to “restore them gently” because we CARE for this person’s WELL-BEING! And, foreseeing possible challenges in the future based on his or her behavior, we want to HELP them, not to police them or humiliate them. (If the latter is EVER the intention, than you are in much bigger trouble that wondering if you are under law or under grace. That is just plain the Wrong Spirit. Most anywhere in the Bible will tell you that.)

We don’t need to be debating this, really. Perhaps the devil is WANTING us to get caught up in the details. Yes, Paul does make a lot of references to “the law” and being “under the law or under grace.” I suppose that means that we are not to forget about the law and that we are to know its place in our lives. Because really, we only need a law when things are getting out of control and need regulation or clarification (and I’d say the world is a bit out of control!). If we daily live by the fruits of the Spirit, being guided by God Himself, we eventually won’t even NEED the words of the law to tell us to do what is right. It will be in us.

Test it. I dare you.

Good to read:

James 3:17

Galatians 5:22

Hebrews 4:9

Acts 18:1-4

Colossians 3

Deuteronomy 6

And so many more….

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Filed under Argument, Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Logic, Spiritual Application, State of the world

The Unknown’s Gravitational Pull

Knowledge is Power

Is it?
Is it really?

Now, I’m not referring to the normal and necessary pursuit of studies and exercising of common sense. I’m talking about simply….Knowing Things. Or rather, the not knowing of things. And why that can be better.

First off, on a silly little note, have you noticed how happy naive people are? Have you experienced how you can have such a wonderfully carefree time being around those that have no clue (or at least no intention of thinking about) all the deeper, sadder, depressing things going on in the world? Or have you observed how liberating it is when you choose to not know something, or at the very least choose not to worry about it? Sometimes I feel like those people are more powerful than a person like me, who has wasted much of her time worrying about things that I don’t have anything to do with or trying to find out things that I have no real need of knowing.

OK, before a bunch of you Knowers out there retort with your list of the profound gifts of knowledge, expounding on how precious the knowledge is, and how you would never give it up even for the greatest happiness because of all the parts of you that would be lost in the process, about all the new connections you have to the universe and possibly to God, as depressing as some of the facets of knowledge are that you would never relinquish it…well, you guys can be quiet for now.

I’m not saying that you Knowers are wrong. And I’m not about to say that ignorance is blissful enough to be meaningful or smart, or even close to a good way to live life. No. I am not an extremist. What I am posing is this: Knowledge may be power, but perhaps it is power we shouldn’t always feel we need to tap into. Or, we shouldn’t always feel like we deserve to know all things.

One good example is near the end of Jesus’ physical ministry on Earth. His disciples needed to know what was going to happen to Him. However, He wouldn’t just sit down and spill it all out on them. He knew that, at that time, it would be too much for them. He knew that if He said too much too soon, it would prove futile because their current understandings of His great purpose wouldn’t be able to hold it for what it’s worth.
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now,” Jesus spoke in John 16:12.

That’s just one angle of my point: strategic withholding of knowledge. I’ve heard many arguments against Jesus’ fairness that stemmed from this verse. One person said that if Jesus was fair and really loving, He wouldn’t be so arrogant with His power as to ration it out like that, He should tell all and let everyone deal with it. No, I disagree. I’d rather have someone care about me enough to value my own understanding of such an important concept that they would nurture my process of learning. However, I certainly can relate to the opposing viewpoint. If I find out that there is something that someone (anyone, really) knows that I do not, I don’t care what it is or even how relevant it is to my life, I WANT TO KNOW IT! How annoying. I guess it’s a human tendency. But how much hassle would I save myself (and others too, probably) if I wasn’t such a baby about it. (I want i want i want!) It’s true, I admit it. I really really like to know things. And most of those things I probably didn’t really need to know.

Or, on the shallower side of things, don’t you just love being surprised? I’m not talking about near-scary surprises that can attack the heart, and I’m also not addressing bad or tragic surprises. But when something unexpected happens that turns out to be nice, it makes it all that much nicer because it was unexpected. Sometimes I’ll find out about something nice that is going to happen and it takes some of the niceness away because now I know about it. Or one year when it was nearing my birthday, I caught wind of something my friends were discussing. I didn’t actually know if it was about my birthday or not (turned out it wasn’t…) but it sounded like it could have been, and what was mentioned sounded nice. So here I was expecting a certain kind of something to happen, and it didn’t. Something else happened that was equally as awesome, but it didn’t seem as wonderful to me because I was getting excited about something else. I wish I never knew of that Something Else, because it almost ruined my Something Real.

In that sense, Knowledge’s wonderful power can be slightly dangerous if it is misused or misinterpreted. Or at least it can be a disappointment. And I’m sure you can come up with your own examples relating to my silly little example situation. But situations like that can also be slightly altered and transformed into an actual serious situation, so demonstrating the aforementioned danger of too much knowledge.

Also, as great a creation as we human beings are, we are not really that awesome. We could be, but as we are now, we are most definitely not. We have no business knowing Good from Evil. Heck, we’re having trouble enough with that right now on earth. That’s what’s behind this whole mess we’re in. We asked to learn good and evil, and we are right in the thick of this knowledge. Life could be paradise (as intended) if we weren’t so darned curious about evil. But there we go again….just because there’s something we don’t know, we automatically want to know it, as proven way back when.

So, in closing, here are some things I’ve learned, in short:

Knowledge is Power, but not such that we are automatically entitled.

and

Get over yourself. You don’t need to know everything. It’s not your job.

and, to quote The Rock: “We’re on a need-to-know basis, and you don’t need to know.”

Ok. I’m done scolding myself.
Keep it real, everybody. May your days be full of pleasant surprises.

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Filed under Challenge, Logic, Spiritual Application, State of the world, the Bible

…by a GIRL!

So there’s one car decal that I don’t like. Here is what it says:

“You just got passed….by a GIRL!”

I saw it on a maroon BMW last week. On our last trip to Colorado, I saw it on the back window of a black Honda Accord with a body kit.

I know there’s still a lot of the “girl power” element in pop culture merchandising, but come on. I feel this decal pretty much reinforces the idea that females do certain things at an inferior rate/pace/ability. Of course it’s meant to be an insult to the poor driver that gets passed…but what is the appeal to having that sticker to the woman/girl driving? Especially if it is on the back window of a typically fast car, it’s just like saying, “You just got passed…..by an overly ambitious female driver of an already faster car than yours. So that means you are driving completely normal, and this is no real insult.” I know that this little phrase may intend to say something more to the effect of, “See, girls drive fast, too!” But that still reinforces that there was some doubt about that fact, and now the female population is in uprising to prove to the freeway world that girls are actually quite speedy. And that draws attention to the fact that this gender group is still out to claim their true position of equality, and in doing so, demands a bit more recognition than the other gender group (thus negating the intended equality).

For me, this decal would really only pack a punch if you put it on the back window of a 1990 or earlier luxury sedan. And preferably if the female driver looks relatively non-ambitious and is in no hurry whatsoever. If that car passes you, then you might consider being embarrassed.

And, in trying to poke fun at a common misconception of the abilities of women, this generalizing decal ends up pinpointing the collective identity of the driver—not necessarily the individual.

I know, this is a little bit of a rant. But it reminded me of another “joke” I heard at a potluck a few months ago. It was actually a guy talking to a visitor.

“Haha, you can tell we’re Adventists because we refuse the meat and black pepper, but we take 2nds and 3rds of that cheese-covered casserole and that ice cream cake!”

I know I know, he was just having fun and making light of things. And I’m so glad that at least he was engaged in conversation with the visitor. But in making comical conversation, he just downplayed his own church’s attitude toward its beloved health message. Instead of joking about his own affinity for cheese and ice cream, in a way he deflates a big part of his collective identity as a Seventh-day Adventist, Health Message Follower.

Maybe this is a far-fetched comparison, and maybe the decals and jokes don’t matter as much to the rest of the world as they do in my own mind’s identity environment. But this is just my little testament to my own identity as a Seventh-day Adventist Woman. I am proud of both, despite what challenges or shortcomings are associated with either along the way.

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Filed under Health, general, Logic, State of the world