Welcome Back, Blogging Again

There is a type of process that many bloggers go through, and some of us can totally identify with the stages that Samantha describes, although I do think it depends on how many different types of online social interactions you have engaged in. “I have at times been kind of obsessive, feeling like I need to somehow document every thought I have…..[later] it began to seem like a duty to produce something for them to read. I hated when I would get caught up in whether or not there were comments, or whether people agreed with what I had written. Sometimes I would allow that to dictate how I felt about myself that day. It can also take a lot of time, and be a distraction from other things that need to be done. ” However, this is mainly to re-introduce Samantha, who has blogged indifferent venues, but always with creative panache and a clear, individual voice.

Check out her 42 Things, part 1 for an introduction to Samantha,”No Spring Chicken“.

Read her blog… for however long she decides to share with us, and maybe encourage her to keep her voice in blog form for us to engage with 🙂

No Spring Chicken

Fine Points of Good Coffee-and other Church Topics

hot coffeeI’m not writing much of late, but I have been reading and listening alot. Many of us have coffee bars as part of our Church experience and many more are acquainted with the Starbucks experience. Combine this fact with parallels in what we as believers should serve to those around us, and it makes for a compellingly presented lesson.
Earl Creps in “Viral Dis-Marketing” might have you thinking about the quality of discipleship and the importance of a “man with a mission” in any undertaking.

Time Well Spent

If you want to find yourself spending time reading the blog of someone you have never met…. you will find yourself engrossed…enthralled. She writes her stories well, and from the heart, but most of all, she has stories worth telling. It will be time well spent for you.

A sample:
From “come” :

It’s the rare child I’m unable to connect with, but Abel had me totally stumped. The Lion King wasn’t interesting. Stuffed animals were scary. And even my failsafe standby, a huge book of stickers, was an object of utter disdain to my pouting little friend. It was at this critical moment, when all my tricks were exhausted, that Abel’s mother left his bedside to go bathe in the tiny, shared bathroom. And the lip that I had thought was at maximum levels of jutting not only stuck further out, but also started to quiver as his eyes filled up with tears.

Come, I said, and held out my arms.

He was surprised, I think. I hadn’t tried it before, mostly because I was sure that the result would be kicking and screaming. But I had caught him off guard, and before he realized what he was doing, he had lifted his pudgy little hands up to me. I scooped him up and held him close to my chest, his body stiff in my arms. I rubbed his back in small circles, crooning soft words in Liberian English as he relaxed into me and his head found the corner in my neck reserved especially for small, brown boys.

When his mama returned, I placed him gently back in his bed and his dark eyes followed me until I had disappeared around the corner.

I just can’t help thinking that it’s exactly what God did with me.

ali’s african adventures

Finding the Good Thought

I look for good thoughts, that is what is true, or what makes me think about truth, what helps me in my struggle to live a life worth living. That is my shorthand for the restless ranging of my minds relentless dilettantism. I am slow to break out of my accustomed parameters, but eventually it will sometime happen, and the freshness of the venue will create a receptivity to “the good thought”. Sometimes that has to work itself down into my worldview and constructs, sometimes it just stands alone in a brilliance that I run after to try to understand more of where it leads and what the purpose might be.

Usually, in my religious experience of life I tend to gravitate around Protestant and especially Evangelical or Charismatic sources. Occasionally, like today, I venture back into the Catholic in some roundabout way. I discovered Eve Tushnet. Yes, I know she has been blogging a long time, her archives dating from 2002, but I am just now looking at her blog and her style of thinking (while far more erudite than mine could be) strikes a chord with me. She looks at feminism, truth, and beauty… in the big question sense. And I’m tired of some of the god-blogging eternal arguing over fine points. There I said it. I stood on what I needed to say about Cessationism, and such points of contention, and don’t need to worry it like some stubborn little terrier.

In a side blog of hers she threads out a helpful breakdown of reason and faith. We would go in circles less if we took time for such defining breakdowns of what we are actually talking about, and forced the opposition to encounter the same. ie

There are good but non-rational reasons for believing things. (I take “irrational” to mean “anti-rational, contrary to reason,” and “non-rational” to mean “not using the processes of syllogistic reasoning but not contrary to such reasoning.”) “Non-rational reasons” may sound like an oxymoron, but let’s take a look at one important example: aesthetic judgments. What process of syllogistic reasoning can lead us to conclude that Hamlet is a greater work of art than The Long Goodbye, or that Goodbye is nonetheless a terrific book? Beauty and sublimity are encounters, not conclusions of philosophic reasoning (although the conclusions we draw from reasoning may make it easier or harder for us to see or accept beauty or sublimity in certain places…

So I think it might help clarify matters if, when we talk about “faith,” we cash out a little more clearly what the term means. Loving trust in someone’s promises–for example, God’s promises? (That’s a fairly standard Christian definition of one kind of faith.) Non-rational beliefs that nonetheless can be discussed, justified, or convincingly described? Everything that isn’t based on evidence of the senses + axioms of logic (“A is A”)? Random belief in whatever toxin happens to be flowing through the culture-stream? Many Objectivists write as if Christians themselves believe that faith is basically irrational rather than nonrational, leading the Objectivists to assume that faith is necessarily either random or a capitulation to an evil cultural trend.

Of course it takes times and level-headedness to discuss things in that way. Not a mainstream occupation in debates if what I have witnessed is any measure of that. just saying. It isn’t that people generally aren’t smart enough, but that they are proudly invested in making their points more than in the discovery process.
… and as she ended that side blog endeavor:

What have you found to be true that you absolutely wished was not true? In other words, when have you overcome a desire for comfort over truth, or personal happiness (even short-term happiness) over truth? When have you “wrestled yourself and lost”? And, to get to the heart of the matter, why did that conflict arise?

I wonder if we can make much progress in the Christian life if we don’t venture that wrestle with ourselves in this way. But then, I think the answer of Jesus to another question is the answer here as well: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”

Thanks be to God for His unspeakably great and wonderful gift to us in Christ.

And therein is my good thought for today.

Reading Gagdad Bob

Gagdad Bob is hard for me to understand, arresting with a good delivery of truth, but still takes me time to get through his style of prose to understand what he is saying. Don’t let that stop you from reading one of the very best explanations I have found for why the Western system of freedom and democratic government is based quite squarely within and derived from the Protestant form of Christian beliefs. In Cosmopathology and the Descent of the Left, Bob makes sense of the nonsensical fact that the Left aligns itself self-destructively with Islamo-fascism. And further how it can choose causes which so evidently destroy true freedom, while needing and purportedly cherishing that freedom.

One of the reasons his post is so effective is because he comes from a completely different direction than our accustomed style of thinking. Breaks through the reinforced strongholds of our usual opinion-formed arguments.

Internet Evangelism

Kathy Sharpe wrote a post on Internet Evangelism. To give you a little background to my own connection here, I used to (I was going to say ‘haunt’) participate in Kathy’s Exwitch forum when it was on Delphi. My nom d’internet was “FireForNow”. Oh yessy, yes, that was me. It was a great learning experience for many of us, I think. And if you read some of my older posts here you know that I forged a friendship with “vashnevskaya” – my number one nemesis on that forum, due to her unfailing ability to penetrate all my arguments and really make me work to deliver an answer for the “hope that was in me”.

Anyway, what I didn’t know was anything about Rich Tatum’s AKA as Blogrodent, instrumental role in Kathy’s conversion to Christ.

So in the long way about things he also influenced me, through my interaction with her, to learn more about the world outside my own Christian sphere and how to participate in dialog with unbelievers online. I came from a strongly combat booted style to the one I have now. Not exactly gentle, mayhaps, but softened a great deal in the art of being a more open listener.

…and that, friends, is the rest of the story….
Continue reading Internet Evangelism

The Beauty of Lament

In new blog, I’ve found a voice that resonates with my heart. Oh, I know you wouldn’t know it, as I have a tendency to ire and some sharpness… but my heart leads me in the direction that Eclexia has indicated in the post My Mentors in Lament.

In reviewing some of the blogs appreciated, Eclexia expressed this about Internet Monk:

Which brings me to my last Lament Mentor. The best (in my opinion), internet lamenter around: Internet Monk. Many people online rant and rave about things which I also think about. But I don’t particularly enjoy reading rants and raves about things which I think are wrong, because usually those things make my heart hurt, they don’t make me mad. And if I read angry rants, I start to get angry in a way that feeds bitterness, which doesn’t change anything (except making me more miserable).

Internet Monk is different. Sometimes he rants and raves, but usually I think what he is doing is lamenting–being excruciatingly honest about things that are wrong in this world.

It is this quality of the lament that I think Francis Schaeffer so often tried to convey. And perhaps it also is something of what was meant by describing the Lord Jesus Christ as the man of sorrows. A redeeming sort of sorrow.

As one with a melancholy bent, I have often been at odds with the Pentecostal groups I have had fellowship with… not just them, but with a whole culture that despises the beauty of lament. I am so grateful for this post that gave me a place and an understanding for the direction that anger and lament ought to take me. It was something that my heart keeps trying to tell me, but which I have a hard time embracing.

I found Eclexia via Lingamish… another fine blog new to me.

Christian Thinking

I like looking at the debate between theist and atheist on the seminal topic of whether God exists. Brian Trapp does some Christian thinking on “Dawkins’ ‘Ultimate 747 Argument’: Formulating the Argument“. Brian has been posting on The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and has a previous post,”Richard Dawkins’ non-argument against arguments from religious experience“.

I appreciate that someone is tackling this task of unraveling major arguments of the atheists in this systematic way. You might, too.

Stock Market Wisdom

I have mentioned that I do a little stock market investing. I have mediocre results, but good enough that I desire to keep on climbing the learning curve. As human beings we respond like that: give us good enough return and a little hope and we continue- let the reward dry up and we tend to move on to other interests. While learning more about the stock market I come across some interesting bits of news every so often, and now, human behavioral insights that apply to a broad spectrum of life.

Two blogs offering that wisdom and insight are Steenbarger’s Traderfeed with his post, The Most Dangerous Word in the Trader’s Vocabulary, and the referring site, Curtis Faith’s The Way of the Turtle whose book sounds so intriguing that I am putting it on my “next to read” list.

For now, take a look at what these men have to say.. after i catch up a bit here I want to take a look at the spiritual applications of some of what they have to say. And, oh yes, there are some.

A Weekend Melange

No, I didn’t know that:A show of hands, please. « areopagitica

..and I think he was right

a brand new blog

Thoughtful things
, and provoking posts…in a good way