Friday, December 5, 2008


If two people disagree over an issue, as I see it, they both can't be right. They both most certainly can be wrong, but not simultaneously right. I know arguments can be made that both parties can be partially right and I would agree, but when it comes to issues of truth, only one can be right.

Suppose two historians got into an argument over the sinking of the titanic. One historian states that the Titanic sunk after colliding with a massive iceberg, the other states that the titanic actually was sucked into a arctic whirlpool. Only one can be right. Either the titanic hit an iceberg, or was sucked into a whirlpool. Yes, someone could come along and say that both happened--the Titanic hit an iceberg and then was sucked into a whirlpool. But now we have three competing truth claims (assuming that the first and second historians assert ONLY one incident caused the tragedy).

It seems to me that our culture, while gradually rejecting the logic of absolute truths, is moving towards a misinterpreted explanation of the term 'tolerance.' One can no longer assert that they are right as interlocutors involved in a dialogue with opposite opinions are wrong without being deemed intolerant, haughty, puffed-up, narrow minded, or any other ridiculous and ignorant assumptions.

The truth is, ANYONE who holds an opinion against others, thinks they are right and the other is wrong. This person may or may not be a prideful or arrogant person, but asserting that they believe there opinions are the correct opinion cannot be a matrix for judging their intent and/or character.

If I were to state, "God is real," and you conversely state, "God is not real," and then, after hours of good natured debate, we both decide our opinion has not changed, it would be erroneous for me to say, "Ha, you refuse to refuse to change your mind. You are so sure that you are right. Your pride has gotten the best of you," I would be wrong, and ignorant, for the person with whom I had been in conversation with could say the very same thing about me. One can, and must, for the sake of peaceful and progressive discussion, approach any subject and say, "I believe you are wrong and I am right." This is not an admission of run-away-pride, rather it is an impressive display of honesty. Perhaps accusations of arrogance are permissible if, in the example of the Titanic historians, the firs historian stated, "I believe the Titanic hit an iceberg, and that is that...I refuse to listen to any of your arguments."

More and more indivuals and instituions are resorting to ad hominen attacks. Instead of attacking the argument and its logical backbone, they are attacking the character and/or intelligence of the person putting forth his/her opinion. I have no patience for this. If fact, I see it as ignorant. I am not assuming that someone who resorts to such an attack has a low IQ, they are just too uninformed to participate in the particular discussion and thus have to attack the character of the one presenting the argument for purposes of distraction. Thus, it can be reasoned that ad hominen attacks are an admission of wounded pride.

All that to say, I'll try to be honest around here. If I disagree with you, whether in your comments or postings on your own blog, I am doing so because I think I am right and you are wrong (conversely you think you are right and I am wrong), but I do and have listened carefully to your opinion, otherwise, how could I disagree?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Here I Am

It's been a minute!

Things have changed a lot around here for the better. I attribute much of this to the prayers of a lot of folks who read this blog.

I am employed at a wealth management office now, here in Toledo, OH. It's quite different from all that I had scholastically prepared myself for. I hold a MA in Theology and now work in finance. It's all good though. I love my new job. I do a good deal of administrative work, research work (up my alley--research on historical Christian understanding of wealth, work and the state, and am working towards a securities license.

My wife, who since we've been married has been a vocational mother, now works at a local woman's homeless shelter. She's doing an awesome job...she pretty much bleeds empathy. It's a bit difficult doing this while confined to one vehicle, but it's working so far.

I'd like to get back into writing on this beast, but I do so hesitantly; that is, the balance between objectivity and tactful subjectivity is difficult to achieve in a non-anonymous blog. I feel awkward at times when I write, knowing that folks with polarized opinions on whatever subject is at hand are reading and possibly being offended. Nonetheless, I'll try to hit this thing at least once a week.

Anyway, thanks all for the encouragement over the past couple of months (your recent comment was uplifting, Peter!)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leave of Absense

I just wanted to inform those who read this blog I will be taking a mandatory sabbatical from posting. You see, I have been unemployed now for nearly 4 months. I don't receive unemployment compensation, and haven't been able to find a job. So to keep from loosing my home, I am selling my computer. And lots and lots of other non-essentials.

Those who pray, please do. If anyone in the Toledo area is hiring, please give me a call. 419.205.5337.

Please stay subscribed! At some point, I will be back.

Peace and Love in Christ,


Friday, September 26, 2008

How To Look 5 Years Younger In 5 Minutes

I think I miss my beard already...

John 10, A Qumranic Connection|Carl's Blogged Bible Study

One small tidbit today...

Over the past few chapters, John has carefully woven the text to clearly demonstrate that John is not JUST a messiah. An anticipated Jewish Messiah in the minds of the Jews in Palestine and those displaced by the diaspora would have been coming to overthrow the oppressive imperialism of Rome. According to John, Jesus was no political figure (Jesus shunned politics!); rather, he was God-become-flesh, sent by himself (so to speak...the father) to redeem mankind from their iniquity.

John, unique from the other synoptic writers(Mathew, Mark, Luke), masterfully accomplishes this task. What is so different about John? What does he do that the others do not? I would say, John's approach is clearly philosophical; if anything it is clearly intellectual.

Without going into a history of the author (the resources are plentiful, just go to any university and search their online library of works) I presume we stop thinking of the gospel of John as inspired scripture (which it is), and think about it as work of literature (which it is), penned by a unique author with a bias, with subjectivity, with background, with a leaning towards certain philosophical ideals.

All too often the Christian assumes that writers of scripture were consumed in a trance and the Holy Spirit guided their pen grasped hand and wrote the words. Not the case. Just look at Paul's work...the Greek is easily recognizable as Pauline in characteristic. Thus said, while scripture IS the inspired word of God, it was written by many different humans, all of whom expressed their personality in the text.

So look at John 10:40-42. This little tidbit is not found in the other synoptics. To me, this screams, "Look at me...John wrote me!"

What is so interesting, is that Jesus stayed for a while with his baptizer, who according to more than a few scholars and historians, may have been a Qumranic member--an Essene (you know, the guys who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls). Whether or not John the Baptist was an Essene makes little difference to me, all I know is that he fits the description of one in his dress, his methodology, and his ideals.

The Essenes were extremely mystical, and extremely philosophical. I suggest picking up a copy of the dead sea scrolls. The Essenes were looking for a Messiah. In fact, splinter groups thought he had come and gone.

Here is my point...could Jesus, and more notably, JOHN the gospel writer, spent time with this group, or at least remnants of the gropu known as the Essenes. This string of verses highly suggests it as a possibility. But cherry picking verses to support a supposition is never a good idea, so consider the overall language of John. Ideas key to John (truth/error, light/dark, living water, predestination, eschatological struggle, the two spirits) are all found in the chapters of the Dead Sea Scrolls, sometimes word for word.

Te whole point of this post is not to point out the similarites between John and Qumran, nor is it it to suggest that the gospel writer plagiarized from a group of dessert mystics. The point is that the gospel writer WAS ifluenced by these people. Maybe he never camped out in the cliffs with them, but he was clearly familiar with their philosophy and used it to communicate the word of God--the life, teachings, and meaning of Christ. God allowed him to use his own personal flavor of communication, and I am sure that many who read his gospel in those early days who were familiar with qumranic ideaology understood the message a lot easier!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Coming Out

Taking a cue from Wes, I must say my perspectives and worldviews have changed drastically the past few years both politically and theologically. I attribute this to inductive thinking and setting aside presuppositions in approaching history/theology.

I have become acutely aware of the dangers of a government that overstretches it's reach; that is, a government that imposes itself in the form of regulations and programs in places a government is not designed for.

The BEST blog post I have read recently that echoes my concerns but in an extremely concise and well-educated manner can be found at Strange Culture. Please, go read it or else this post will make far less sense.

Anyway, I can no longer consider myself Democrat or Republican, for both parties increasingly abuse the authority and over extend the reach of government, and both candidates in this election represent what their parties have become quite well. I guess I don't know where that leaves me...Libertarian, I suppose. I intend on writing more later and developing the ideas in Strange Cultures post a little more.

Blogged Bible Study, John 9

I apologize in advance for the rabbit trail that this post consists of, but that's where my mind went. I want to point out that I approached this text as agenda-less as possible, and as a certain controversial issue is brought up in this post, again, I approach it objectively. In fact, I am undecided on this issue. This isn't a theological stance, it's an observation.

John 9 centers on the miracle performed at the outset, the healing of the blind man. The disciples ask Jesus whose sin, his or his parents', caused his blindness. Jesus naturally replies neither. In fact says this man was created that the work of God might be manifest him in. Vaguely deterministic, but it can be taken as Jesus says, "Crap happens."

But that's not where I am going with this. Jesus, while talking, mixes his spit with the mud to make clay which was applied to the man's eyes. After washing the man's eyes are opened. That was some sweet mud. Here is the formula: DIRT + GOD = Miracle. Where have we seen this before? It sounds strangely familiar, like when Adam was fashioned out of clay and then animated with the breath of God. Again, not only is John demonstrating that Jesus is the God, but that Jesus is connected with the creative process. (cf. Jn. 1:2-3, "in the beginning with God, all things were made through him.")

So here is where I rabbit trailed...

Jesus, the Creator, as evidenced in John 9 and the Creation of Adam (Gen. 2:7) utilizes process in creation. Sure, he could have thought it and Adam would have appeared. He could have thought it and the blind man would have been made well. In my often wrong and humble opinion, Genesis is far more analogous than literal. Is it possible that the creation could have been the work of a process. Obviously, I am alluding to the whole debate in Christian circles that considers evolution a possible creative process of God.

I am undecided on this whole debate, all I am saying is God purposefully makes the miraculous more complex than necessary at times.