Friday, March 10, 2006

The One Promise

"I will be with you."

to:

Isaac (Gen 26:3)
Jacob (Gen 31:3)
Joseph (Gen 48:21)
Moses (Exo 3:12)
Joshua (Joshua 1:5, 1:9)
David (1 Sam 17:37)
Solomon (1 Kings 11:38)
Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 20:17)

to all of us (Matt 28:19-20)

Perhaps in life there are almost no sure-fire promises from God that we will be free from disease, from heartbreaks, from disappointments, from sadness, from disasters.

The temptation for us is when we see things like Tsunamis, earthquakes and diseases to then conclude "There is no God."

We are to learn life, stumbling through and making many many mistakes, some even costly. The myth that we often bite on is that God is like some kind of magical genie that will protect us from them. God will protect your car, yet on the other hand, please lock it. At times he does protect it, but in all wisdom and learning we must be responsible.

So then the question comes, where are we responsible and where does God's responsibility come?

We must know that we are 100% responsible for our lives, every thing that we want or do or come in contact with is our responsibility. So what makes us different from an atheist? Perhaps from an earthly viewpoint there isn't. But rather it is the logos or meaning that we see in all things. To one something is just a coincidence. A bad thing. Another sign that there is no God. To another it is the divine finger of God, an opportunity to do good, to change, to become better, to change our attitude.

We are 100% responsible, not 50%, not 70%, not even 99% but 100%. Anything that God allows to come to our awareness we are responsible for.

(As a sidenote, one time in church, the someone announced that all cars parked on a slope had to be moved. The worship leader said he too had his car parked there but said he will continue leading "by faith". I think that is an abuse of the concept of "faith" and propogates the idea that we can be irresponsible. What he should have done is either get a backup singer to lead or pass his car keys to someone else who could drive his car for him.)

God did not give Joshua a +10 Str, +10 Wis and +10 dex magical sword to fight the Philistines. Only his promise of being with him.

Yes, of course, you can say that he did give a staff of magic to Moses. No, there was nothing magical about the staff. It was merely a prop to demonstrate to pharoah His power to get a point across. The "magic staff of moses" did not give him extreme wisdom, Moses was still weary from doing judgement and had to have Jethro give him some practical advice. Moses still got angry. The thing about Gods miracles or rather his magic tricks that he does for us is to get a message across. Despite Stephen's innocence, he still died a martyr. God didn't save him from being stoned.

Yet somehow in a totally undiscernible way, God, the author, the producer, the writer or this drama we call life is pulling the strings. Just as characters in a play are fully active and working their own agenda and seemingly without any divine power, the great Author in the sky is writing the storyline in the background.

So where does God's responsiblity come in? That I will perhaps write in another post another day...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Life As a Game

What makes a game?

  1. Players.
  2. Rules & Boundaries.
  3. Story & Goals


First, you will need players, even if it is a single player, someone must be playing it, a computer will do if there is no human. Optionally, there may be resources in the games in the forms of money, oil, tokens, equipment. That sustain the player or extend the players influence.

Next, there are rules to any game, what you can or cannot do what actions that you can take, what moves you can make.

There are also boundaries, where does it end, when doesn't it? Games can consist of spatial, temporal, and even social boundaries.

Finally, there is a story to a game, even a game of chess has a medieval tale behind it, however simple which has a goal to it.

The thing is, these abstract notions apply even to life.

Life is a game.

There are players (you and me), rules (written ones like the law, unwritten ones like social conventions and inherent ones like the law of gravity), boundaries (which are what you can or cannot do), and a story and a goal for each one.

The problem I believe for a lot of us is that we don't know the rules and boundaries and our goals in life.

Once we learn the rules and know what we really want in life, it is a bit easier to live it.



Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Game Night: Settler's Cafe

World Board Game Day, every first Tuesday of the month at Settler's Cafe, North Canal Road. Here's a pic of some of us just before we start playing a game of "Settlers of Catan".


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Being Misunderstood

Lets take a look at a few diseases:

Dyslexia:

Learning disability affecting reading ability. Persons with dyslexia may have difficulty remembering, recognizing, and or reversing written letters, numbers, and words, might read backwards, and have poor handwriting.


Tourette's Syndrome:

A disorder characterized by involuntary, sudden, rapid and recurrent movement or vocalization. Common motor tics are eye blinking, neck jerking, shoulder shrugging and facial grimacing. Vocal tics can include repeated coughing, throat clearing, grunting. sniffling, snorting, barking and swearing. If not diagnosed, these behaviors can cause a child to be misunderstood with major ramifications.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):

is a psychiatric diagnosis that identifies characteristics such as hyperactivity, forgetfulness, mood shifts, poor impulse control, and distractibility, when judged to be chronic, as symptoms of a neurological pathology.


Apraxia:

Inability to do complex tasks when requested and there is no paralysis of the muscles


Before such diseases were diagnosed, I am quite sure kids with such disorders were condemned to be "stupid", "lazy", "naughty", "idiots" or maybe even "demon-possessed"!. Why? Because they were misunderstood by their parents, teachers, and other caretakers.

It's easy to put labels on people. Because we see them from our point of view, from our own set of needs that we don't see their actions from their set of needs.

I wonder before this, how many children have been condemned, rejected, ostracised, and abandoned by their parents because of this?

I once overhead a woman comment on a neighbours 2 year-old child, "How naughty she is." I countered that most children don't wake up in the morning thinking, "I wonder how naughty I can be today". A 2 year old would hardly have the capacity to make moral decisions so quickly. And so some parents punish them. To the exasperated mother, the child is being "naughty". To the child, she was being punished for expressing her needs.

We need far greater understanding than just shallow labels to discern a situation at hand.

The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

(Proverbs 20:5)


Monday, March 06, 2006

Are We Software?

Are we software housed in carbon based containers?

This is a question to think about. Almost 90% of our lives consist of habits, consists of whirrs-and-clicks of behaviour based on stimulus and response plus conditioning.

We go about our lives, sometimes a lot of it in auto-pilot.

Much like the idea of the Matrix, we may appear to be people living lives in the 21st century, but our soul, the spirit inside us is eternal. For all we know, life could be just a very sophisticated simulation.

We are controlled by prime directives, much like Robocop's directives. Our spending patterns, our relational patterns, our communication patterns are very much alike day-in day-out.

Of course we must have habits, else the burden of thinking every action even trivial ones will be too taxing on us.

This stimulus-response allows us to do most things automatically and allows our brains to concentrate on the higher level functions in life.

However, most of us go into auto-pilot too much. We allow our programming too much leeway. As such, each day we must examine our lives, we must incorporate a feedback cycle to tune our programming as we go along.

"An unexamined life is not worth living".

It is interesting for me to realize that God is the Logos. He is the meaning. Or should I say? The software. Which came first? The hardware or the software? The physical world is the hardware, God is the ultimate software, the master programmer who breathes his own spirit into us.

It is interesting to note that our programming is done through emotional association and repetition. All of our behaviour and response is through emotions. Even "logical responses" are responses based on the emotional safety and security of thinking things through rather than on anger and impulse. All decisions are emotional.

To continue on that, all perception I may add is also emotional.