Monday, April 27, 2009

Drinking tea with lemon, and gauging whether or not I feel good enough to run this morning, or if this mini-cold will cripple my monday morning exercise routine yet again. So far, so good, I think the tea is helping.
Just read an essay my little brother wrote on perception, it's really good. I'm surprised, he never really wrote anything before - at least anything I remember enjoying. But this essay was very clear (clearer, at least, than my writing) and reminded me of Kierkegaard's essay "The Crowd is Untruth" which I recommend (not on authority though, because that would defeat the purpose).
Our van is in questionable health too, it stalled out on us on the way to church, but our brothers & sisters in Christ rolled up their sleeves and pushed us to the church parking lot after service, gave us a ride home, and helped me look at it this past Saturday. But by then it was too late, since on Saturday it started up just fine and tried to act as if nothing happened, but it's not fooling me. I know it's biding its time til I'm tooling down I5 in rush hour traffic, and then *putter putter wheeze croak*-it'll give up the ghost. So I'm not going to even try and drive it til my weekend, which starts tomorrow morning.
But I replaced the fuel filter all by myself, to feel manly.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am now 28, and I have just finished Atlas Shrugged.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The following is fiction to illustrate a true principle:
I stretched out on the thin ledge, gripping what chunks of rock I could to hold on in the rising wind. My friend with me grinned idiotically into the distance as I looked over the edge and winced - a sheer drop of about a quarter mile, and jagged basalt at the bottom.
Hey, don't worry, we've got rope! he chuckled with good humor, and proceeded to unwind a forty foot length of 10mm climbing rope and looked up with an ecstatic grin at the cliff edge some thirty feet above us.
"What are you going to do with that?" I asked. "Oh, he said, it's rope, you know. As long as you've got rope you're all right." He started flailing one end of it upwards, and after about five tries he got one end of it to lay at the top, maybe it was sunk in the snow up there, I had no way of knowing, I was just impressed he'd gotten one end of it to stay up there.
"Great", I said, "now what?"
"Well, as long as we've got rope we're unstoppable!" he said. "I'm going up!"
and with that, before I could process what was happening or stop him, he leaped up holding the rope with a shout of "Rope will carry me through this!" the end of the rope at the top flipped back off and went sailing down at terminal velocity with my friend to the meat-grinding plateau below us. I grabbed uselessly at the rope as it passed but it was about four feet out from the ledge as it fell. I almost fell myself in the process, yelled something I probably shouldn't have and scrabbled at the rock with my bleeding fingertips until I got what I was sure was a firm grip. The last I saw of my friend in one piece was his confused face plummeting down, I could read his lips:"but..I had rope!"
Hours later, still clinging like a limpet to the ledge, I heard some shuffling from up over my head, and when I looked at the cliff summit, I saw through the misty air a face peering down at me, It looked friendly from what little I could see of it, it was starting to get dark.
"What are you doing down there?" - so I wasn't hallucinating, I thought. "I'm trying not to fall!" I said.
"So I see. would you like to get up here? There's far less chance of falling then."
"Yes! Of course I would - please help me!"
Okay", he said, and threw down a length of rope. With a sense of relief I saw it dangle in front of me and I grabbed on, then remembered my friend, now dead. "Wait! I said, my friend threw some rope up there and it didn't work, he fell!"
"Well, the man said, what did he have it tied on to up here?"
"Tied?" I asked, "Nothing I guess...He just threw it up there!"
"What?!?" He almost shouted. "That poor fool! Didn't he know a rope's only as good as what's on the other end? And he had NOTHING on the other end??? Where did he expect it to take him?"
"He's dead now", I said angrily.
"Well, nothing else could have been the result with that method", he said sadly. "But this rope here's tied to a stone that's part of this mountain, it's not going anywhere, and I'll pull you up as soon as you tie yourself on!"
Well, I thought, that's all well and good, but I can't see that stone, how am I supposed to know that it's there? Just take your word on it?
I said as much, and He raised his eyebrows, knelt down and took hold of the rope, and with a swift jump and twist he rappelled down to where I was, smiled at me, and climbed hand over hand as fast as a spider back to the top.
"Now, are you ready?" He gave the rope a shake from the top and the end wiggled in my face.
"All right", I said, "I am"! And tied myself on.
In another fifteen seconds I was at the top, safe, and headed in his truck to the town he had built at the summit.

All this to say:
1. Hope - it's not supposed to be a buzzword, no word is. It's supposed to mean something. Just like rope isn't a standalone, a word is not meant to be just a cheerleading noise.

2. Hope, in order to have a meaning, must be directed towards something, just as rope has to be tied to something to be of use.

3. Hope, like the rope, is only as good as what it's attached to on the other end.
Hope in hope will not save anyone from anything except maybe the capability of dealing with reality until it's too late. You need to know what you expect from hope, and what reason you have to expect it.

What do I hope for?
I hope to be fully redeemed from all that's wrong in this world and in me, including the very likely possibility that I will physically die.
I fully expect to be raised physically from the dead to a new kind of indestructible, pure, joyful and everlasting life, and to receive a reward for the things I did in my current body, whether good or bad. I expect this to happen when Jesus Christ returns to renew and rule the earth.

What is my hope attatched to? Jesus Christ and his Word.
Why do I think that it is not just "rope tossed into the air"? -Because Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead about 1,973 years ago, and in Him and through his physical resurrection God proved that my hope is firmly attached to a solid anchor, to a fully attainable goal. Just like in the story the man who threw down the rope climbed down to prove that it would hold, So God in history raised Jesus Christ from the dead so we could examine and see for ourselves through the evidence that history provides that His word is like a steel cable, it will hold.
And a hope like that is worth hanging on to.