Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ricoeur on violence...

"[O]ne principal cause of suffering is the violence human beings do to one another. In fact, to do evil is always, either directly or indirectly, to make someone else suffer... Violence, in this sense, constantly recreates the unity of moral evil and suffering. Hence, any action, whether ethical or political, that diminishes the quantity of violence exercised by some human beings over against other human beings diminishes the amount of suffering in the world."
(Evil, A Challenge to Philosophy and Theology)

This quote may seem redundant at first, but let it sink in. We actually have the capacity to quite literally reduce the amount of suffering in the world. Do we care? As followers of Christ, I certainly hope so! If so, what are we doing about it? What am I doing about it? That is a new question I am going to start asking myself.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

the irony of atheism...

Here is an interesting article that describes the apparent logical result of modern atheistic thought. Well worth reading.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

thoughts on friendship by Scott Becker...

"What most of the people around me have not done - and for this I am grateful - is evade the truth. They have not tried to stuff my story into a precut picture of a world in which everything works together and makes sense. They haven't offered cheesy suggestions as to how to turn this into a good situation. They haven't avoided me for fear of saying the wrong thing...

My friends, I'm finding, are those whose hearts and imaginations are large enough to make room for tremendous sorrow and tremendous joy both at the same time. The coexistence of these two has very much become a part of my own experience. They are so closely interwoven that if you try to exclude one, you exclude the other. Friendship, therefore, entails a willingness to bear sorrow with another, not despairingly, but in the confidence that in so doing you tap into the joy that is still very much a part of this person's life. For me, this is grounded in the knowledge that the Prince of Peace and the Man of Sorrows are one and the same."

- Scott Becker

in memory of Scott Becker...

It saddens me greatly to learn that Scott Becker passed away on Sept. 13, 2007. Scott was previously the assistant pastor at Bethany Community Church (where I attend) and had moved to Pasadena, CA, where he was working on his Ph.D at Fuller Seminary. Scott had cancer, and fought valiantly for several years, and there was a time when it looked as though the illness might be in permanent remission. But, it returned last year and, over the past several weeks, it seems his health took a traumatic downturn, until at last his body gave up the fight.

Scott will be greatly missed by a multitude of friends and loved ones. Personally, I am extremely appreciative of his willingness to take time out of his very busy schedule to encourage me in my own educational endeavors and to respond to my questions about doctoral studies. Scott was not only a profound thinker, but someone who genuinely desired to see the world changed by the love of Christ. His life was a testimony to the kind of honest, self-giving faith that doesn't run from difficult questions, yet continues to trust and show love in the midst of incredible adversity. Thanks, Scott, for your witness and example. Until we meet again...

I have no idea how long Scott's blog will remain active, but I am posting links to some of my favorite entries. I encourage you all to read them.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

more Simone Weil quotes...

"In general the expression 'for God' is a bad one. God ought not to be put in the dative. We should not go to our neighbor for the sake of God, but we should be impelled towards our neighbor by God, as the arrow is driven towards its target by the archer."

"God and the supernatural are hidden and formless in the universe. It is well that they should be hidden and nameless in the soul. Otherwise there would be a risk of having something imaginary under the name of God (those who fed and clothed Christ did not know that it was Christ). This is the meaning of the ancient mysteries. Christianity speaks too much about holy things."

"Among human beings, only the existence of those we love is fully recognized. Belief in the existence of other human beings as such is love."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

reading Simone Weil...

Here I am, trying to read another mystic... :-) I've wanted to read something by Simone Weil for a while now. She is one of those names you hear "Christian intellectual" types toss around, but few seem to know what to do with her or exactly how to react to her writings. I'm feeling sort of the same way as I work through Gravity and Grace. I am intrigued by her commitment to follow what she believed to be Christ's mandate for her life, in spite of the disturbing actions that commitment sometimes entailed (read a brief biography of her life and you'll know what I mean...). But as with most mystics, the language they use is sometimes very difficult to decipher. Still, I find myself intrigued by paragraphs like this one:

"We possess nothing in the world - a mere chance can strip us of everything - except the power to say 'I'. That is what we have to give to God - in other words, to destroy. There is absolutely no other free act which it is given to us to accomplish - only the destruction of the 'I'... Nothing in the world can rob us of the power to say 'I'... except extreme affliction. Nothing is worse than extreme affliction which destroys the 'I' from outside, because after that we can no longer destroy it ourselves. What happens to those whose 'I' has been destroyed from outside by affliction? It is not possible to imagine anything for them but annihilation according to the atheistic or materialistic conception."

A lot to chew on there... trying to decide whether I agree or disagree, or even if I understand what she is saying. And here I am supposed to be taking a break from thinking while I'm on break from school... :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

powell's books...

I've been slacking off lately with updating this blog, huh? Been finishing up a paper for my Philosophical Theology class (Yeah, the quarter is over!) and went down to Portland for Labor Day weekend with my friends Roy and Kurt. We visited our friend Kimi and had a lot of fun hanging out in the city... we went to Powell's books on Sunday afternoon, and let me just say, if you are a lover of books, Powell's is a Mecca. A bookstore that is four stories high and takes up an entire city block! You must go there if you're ever anywhere near the area. One of many reasons why Portland is one of my favorite cities. If I didn't live in Seattle, I'd love to live in Portland. Well, that's all I have to say for now. Back to more substantial posting soon!