Archive for the 'Fireside Chats' Category

Small

October 23, 2009

I feel like a very small person. As in, insignificant.

When I was younger, I felt like a perennial outsider. I guess somehow I figured that to compensate for my outsiderness, I had to be an incredibly amazing person in any area I could find. A “big” person. No matter what the cost. And I did big things, or at least I thought so. I did on some level realize that I was still very small in the grand scheme of things, but I at least felt that I was pushing the limits of what I could do and be.

But somewhere in there, I lost my way. Now I am very comfortable. I have lots of friends, a stable family, an amazing kid and a non-falling-apart marriage. I own a comfortable home, I’m reasonably successful in my career, and have a few extra-curricular activities like music and this blog.

But I’m very small now, and I’m not really sure what to want. Is it an illusion? A function of my personality that seeks conflict, unhappy that it is comfortable? Is life meaningless, and I am unhappy because I am trying to force meaning where there is none?

Any ideas?

Back to Blogging

July 29, 2009

Well, after a long hiatus I am returning to blogging. I’m not sure that I have any more to say than I did before, but I’m going to say it anyway. Enjoy!

VP Pick Reactions

August 29, 2008

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fiscal conservative. I dislike neocons even more than I dislike Reformed theology. In fact, up until this week I had been leaning towards Obama, in spite of his pro-abortion track record, because it seemed like he would have what it takes to take on big business and lobbyists, end corporate welfare, etc.

But I think McCain’s and Obama’s VP picks may have tipped the scales for me.

Now, I always liked McCain. For one thing, he’s not a poseur — he doesn’t pretend to be an evangelical, like many Republicans will, to the point where it seems patronizing. I like the fact that he’s a “maverick”, and isn’t afraid of challenging the status quo, challenging corruption. But I figured, he’s rich, he’s conservative, he’s not going to take the right tack on stopping disasters like this mortgage debacle — if anything, the result of too much laissez faire capitalism, fallout from 8 years of irresponsible Republicans.

However, little as the Vice Presidential picks may matter in the long run, they have changed my perspective of their respective campaigns and characters. Obama chose a guy who appears to me to be pretty much a reactionary — an Old Guard Democrat, pro-abortion, anti-progress. This is the guy that, for instance, goes to bat for the RIAA … a safe bet to reassure folks that Obama’s camp isn’t without experience, but something of a wet blanket on any excitement I had about Obama being a force for change.

McCain’s pick, however, seems at first glance to be a straw man (or rather, woman) — a shameless attempt to draw in those disappointed with Hilary’s loss in the primaries. However, the more I read about Sarah Palin, the more McCain’s pick reassured me that he is a maverick — and rather than cooling any fervor I had for his distinctions, she seems to be “the best of McCain, plus everything you might think he’s weak on.”

Why? Well, she’s an evangelical, a real one. She’s a woman in a purportedly mysognyistic party, and a fervently pro-life woman. To all appearances, she can relate to the working class and middle class in a way that poor McCain, cursed with the silver spoon in his mouth, never could — her husband is a commerical fisherman; her parents were schoolteachers. She’s also an ethical, responsible politician, not afraid to take on corruption, and serves to reinforce McCain’s “virtuous outsider” image.

But most of all, I like her because she’s a risky, bold pick for McCain. A lot of people thought McCain would go with the milquetoast Romney; this would have appeased those who felt McCain wasn’t conservative enough, and helped to bring in more of the “Old Guard”. Instead he chose someone unknown, probably unpopular with the party elites, but who had character, credentials, and who most of all is, well, interesting! Biden is Obama’s Romney, a safe bet, but a boring one.

A brief defense of ID

April 21, 2008

In response to this. The Slashdot community mods down Christian responses, so I figured I’d be better off writing on my own blog where I’m in charge. I haven’t seen the film Expelled, but I have a pretty good idea what it’s about. I’d like to address a couple criticisms I frequently read about the ID movement, usually on Slashdot.

1) “Religion belongs in a religion or philosophy class, not in a science class.”

In general, this should be true. The problem is when religion and philosophy are addressed and commented on in the scientific arena. When your science class teaches, say, naturalism (“there are no miracles, everything that happens has a natural origin, there is no God”) then it has stepped into the realm of philosophy.

2) “Darwinism has been proved over and over, you might as well believe in flat earth”

The evidence for microevolution is reasonably solid (the concept that species adapt to their environment). We can observe this over time as insects adapt to pesticides, etc. Things like macroevolution (the concept that all species were differentiated from a single organism over millions of years) belong in a philosophy class. Why? Because they can never be proven, and they can’t be observed. You cannot sit down and watch a new species formed by macroevolution, neither can you go back in time and observe the development of all species on earth from a common ancestor. I’ve never been presented with solid geological evidence that macroevolution must be the mechanism of initial speciation, and in any case that would be an epistemological question (that is, how much evidence is enough to determine that which cannot be directly observed). It could be true, certainly, but that kind of speculation doesn’t really belong in the realm of observable, testable phenomena.

3) “Peer review and the scientific community ensure objectivity”

Peer review and journal articles etc. don’t enforce truth unless every person involved is infallible. It tends more towards groupthink than towards objectivity in any situation, particularly when there’s a lot at stake. If you poll 1000 Christian theologians, people who have built their careers and lives on Christian theology, and ask them the question: “Is Buddhism a viable alternative to Christianity?” … you haven’t gained objectivity. If you want a better example, here’s one: how many politicians do you trust? If politicians can’t be trusted to be objective, competent, and work for the common good, why would you think that scientists can be?

Watch this now

April 4, 2008

I just had one of the most powerful movie-watching experiences of my life. It’s called August Rush. You should watch it right now. I felt like someone had tapped into the deepest desires of my soul, and made it into an amazing, beautiful fable about life. It’s that good.

Calvinism is a dangerous heresy

March 19, 2008

So I was thinking, and I realized I kind of have three basic components to my personality.

1) Common sense. This is the part of me that shops at craigslist instead of target, and is always looking out for pitfalls, deals, security and wise decisions for now and the future. This part of me also tends to be a little materialistic.

2) Ramblin’ man. This is the part that spends hours on google maps looking for places I haven’t heard of and no one I know is interested in, and makes plans to go there and see what it’s like. This part of me would prefer (if the money was available) to constantly be looking around for new things and exploring and to be outside of society and etc. This part can tend to be introspective to the point of being self-absorbed.

3) Martyr / heretic. This is the part that wanted to be a missionary, and also the part that is always saying dumb stuff to get a reaction. This part of me is willing to give all for an ideal, is driven by a search for meaning, and unfortunately cannot operate in the real world of compromise and realism. This part loses energy and flops when it can’t do the impossible.

There’s some overlap of course. So I started wondering about God — his multiple unified attributes, sometimes people call it “multiple wills”, and although I don’t believe in that so much, I kind of wondered if maybe that was how He felt sometimes. Although I don’t imagine that God feels like the different desires / wills are tearing Him apart … or maybe he does?

Status

March 14, 2008

We were all very sick last week, including Holden’s first trip to the emergency room. We were supposed to go visit Bonnie’s grandpa in San Diego last weekend because he was dying, and he passed on before we got a chance to get down there because of our being sick. He was, unfortunately, not a believer. Holden has totally messed up sleeping patterns now and has taken this week to spending hours nightly screaming and refusing to go to sleep. Now we need to travel down to San Diego and I need to somehow try to work while down there so I can be a support to Bonnie for the mid-week memorial service.

It’s been a rough month.

I started a fiction blog

March 10, 2008

Hey guys, check out a new fiction endeavor I’ve just started. It’s called “Nick Petrescu, Private Eye“. Part 1 of the first story is up there now. Feel free to comment, too.

ADHD, Disaffection, Compassion

February 27, 2008

Maybe I just end up on his incendiary posts, but for all the good things I’ve heard about Al Mohler I am consistently not impressed by his glib arrogance in the face of complicated issues. I am certainly against over-diagnosis. But the lengths to which this brand of conservatism (I’m looking at you, Biblical Counseling proponents) will go to demonize or ignore people with problems that don’t fit into their evaluation of the world is almost laughable, sometimes.

Certainly there are cases of ADHD where the child merely needs the chance to get out and play outside, and not spend so much time under pressure to perform in an increasingly academic primary school, or playing video games. Some kids can get homeschooling, or live in a place where they can safely run around. Not all kids get that chance … I know firsthand how impossible it is nowadays to have a single-income family. There are also a growing number of kids (or, perhaps, more are being identified, as opposed to in the past when folks like Mohler ran the show they were swept under the carpet) who just can’t cope.

The Christian response to a person who has these problems should be the transforming power of the gospel, and not the pharisee-and-publican style of judgment that Mohler and so many like him employ.

Reading some stuff on EP

November 21, 2007

“Berkeley’s position is no more derived from reason than Hume’s. Hume also has sensations or impressions as mental phenomena. Just because Berkeley thinks that what the senses produce in us are mental entities doesn’t make him a rationalist, just an idealism. And his scheme is panpsychical if by that we mean that everything that exists is mental, but not if we mean that everything is conscious as say David Chalmers thinks.”

http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2006/03/10/the-bickersons/#more-43

After reading far out of my depth in that article, I think I can wholeheartedly agree that … “everything that exists is mental.” REALLY mental.

Blimey.

Stuff like this is just a helpful reminder to me that I am a confirmed amateur when it comes to philosophy, a good thing for me to remember.