Hey guys! I guess I'm a horrible friend -- haven't been keeping up at all with anyone on here :'( Wedding plans are going nicely -- less than four months now!
Anyway, had an uncommonly unusual dream last night and felt I should document it:
( Dream dream dreamCollapse )
Weird dream last night :) This one, I think, requires a little back story:
So last night as I was getting ready for bed Caitlin came home from the fair, and the first thing she asks is, "Is there a big bug on me anywhere??" There wasn't, and she told me this story of this big bug that flew in the window of their car and she was afraid it was crawling on her somewhere... then she asked if I've been getting bitten by anything at night (thankfully the answer was no) -- we concluded that her friend has spiders or something in her house, because she got them the more she slept over there.
Not only that, but yesterday during the day I was outside during my break talking with Joseph, and was commenting to him how many grasshoppers there are everywhere this time of year, and how fun it is to nudge them and watch them jump up and fly away :)
ANYWAY... so I've had bugs on the brain, and perhaps this is where this came from :P
( The moth-kiteCollapse )
Ever write an entry that's so negative that you can't justify posting it? Yeah, those are good days.
Had another dream last night -- have no idea what this means XD
( Joseph, Joseph, is it really you?Collapse )
Oh, and something else -- I got engaged last Tuesday! :DDD Rachel and I are going to get married probably in May of next year. God is good! :D
Hi everyone! Sorry it's been so long. I'm a bad friend because I really haven't been on at all -- not even to keep up to date with y'all, which I always try to do even when not posting. So, sorry :/
Life's been so busy, though! As if that's a surprise to anyone :P
But... to make up for my long absence, two dreams I had last night:
( The Mysterious ChamberCollapse )
( Halloween at Mom'sCollapse )
My house is ridiculously innundated with white rice.
When I first moved in, I thought, "I should get some rice -- that's something that single people eat, right??" And so I did -- got a big bag of it. However, I didn't end up eating rice incredibly often. It doesn't really go bad, though, so having it sit in the cupboard isn't a big deal.
However, each time someone moved into my house to live there, they brought with them another bag of rice -- the same brand, in fact -- and left it there when they moved out. I think last I checked, I have four moderately-sized bags of rice in my cupboard XD
Life is good. Hard at times, and difficult in ways I never would have thought -- but it's all very, very good. Even the hard stuff :D This kind of joy could not come from anywhere if not from God -- I can't imagine this lasting goodness in my life being the result of some psychological trick that evolution has played on my survival instinct or something. Notice I didn't say "happiness" -- if you've been reading at all you know that I am not always a happy person -- but I said "joy", which is a deeper sense of the good that transcends your circumstances or your feelings. Even when life is miserable and I feel like death, I still have joy even when happiness eludes me. I thank God for that today :)
For those of you who are the praying sort, I'd appreciate your prayers today -- I feel led to seek the face of God today, and I'm praying for wisdom and a clear word from Him.
Pat and Jason at work were just having a conversation about how I make the best maps in the office :) That's encouraging! Especially since I've always seen my colorblindness as a defect in this area ;)
It's been great having the freedom now to hang out with Rachel whenever we like :D Seems like we're both big on quality time, so we both appreciate just hanging out. Makes every-day stuff more special :) And we're back to dancing, which is wonderful.
Just got a call from my highschool French teacher; we're both Christians and make sure to keep in touch -- just went out to coffee recently, in fact, and had a great talk that helped me a great deal. Anyway, come to find out that ever since she's lived in CA she's been best friends with the parents of MY best friend from elementary school! She went to Brandon's birthday parties and everything! So, I guess Karen and I have known each other longer than we both suspected XD
Speaking of friends from the past -- have a dinner date with John, one of my best friends from high school! I'm very excited :) I'm horrible at keeping in touch with people, and so it's really nice when it works out. Very much looking forward to it -- John's a great guy.
Going through a 12-week series by John Bevere in church small group -- heavy stuff. Talking about pursuing holiness, and letting the grace of God empower us to pursue holiness. One of the images he shares that I keep going back to is his explanation of how gold is refined (for the Bible often uses that imagery to describe the purification process of the human heart seeking after God): it's heated up in a furnace, the impurities float to the top, and the refiner skims them off and begins the process again. So, if we apply this to sanctification, that means that as we're heated up (trials), the impurities that were previously hidden come to the surface (ungodly attitudes and behaviors) -- and we then have the choice to either come to grips with that and let God skim the impurities away, or bury the impurities back inside, causing God to do the same thing again to deal with the same impurities.
I feel today that God is bringing some of my inpurities to the surface, and I don't know what to do with them. Which makes sense -- it's the refiner's job to skim them away, isn't it? It still requires a will on my part to submit to His work, for He will not do something like this (even if it's for my good) against my will. Sometimes I wish He would! :D So I'm trying my best to pray this through, to see my present discomfort as a necessary and a good part of what I truly desire, which is intimacy with the Lord, to not let it get me down or be fatalistic or try to escape the pain, but to let it complete the work God intended. And that means dealing with the pain, which is something I'm not good at -- from early in my life I've been taught that the way to deal with pain is to bury it, to ignore it, to find ways to placate it like a jungle cat -- and when it comes up again, to throw it a steak and hope that keeps it quiet a little while longer. It never really goes away, and you're never really in control of it -- but you can learn to live with it.
I don't want to be that way anymore. I want to let God remove those things entirely. God help me.
Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been updating a lot lately. I think I've said this before, though, I tend to update more when I'm unhappy, or when I'm going through something and trying to talk it out to myself -- but lately I've been so blessed and happy, and I've been so deeply and regularly entrenched in fellowship with people who are helping me I don't get much catharsis out of journalling like this very often. Still keeping up with y'all, though :)
I guess the biggest news is my relationship with Rachel. Each of us has been waiting for this for over a year, and ever since it started my life has been awhir with very, very good things -- God is definitely using this relationship to make us both more like Jesus, and I'm so excited I can't sit still :D I just can't put down even a fraction of how she blesses me, so I'm not even gonna try. So, deal. :P
I'm also in the process of putting together my closing argument for that online debate thing I mentioned in an earlier post. I'm trying to say things that are personal and meaningful for each of my opponents, trying to redeem the situation as much as I can for God to do something. It's been slow going -- I feel I need to be very careful in what I say and how I say it, so I'm taking the time to tweak it and hopefully make it something the Lord can use.
Um... that's good for now. I'll try to get on here more often :)
Next time I consider entering an online debate about theism, please talk me out of it x.x I always go in hoping that it will be a respectful discussion, that this time people will actually listen to each other and will be more concerned with finding the truth than with being nasty to one another -- but I'm always let down, and this time is no exception. If anything, people are getting more hateful. And here I am just trying to have a civil conversation.
Maybe I'll learn before next time XD
Woke up this morning to find my roof leaking :/ Just got a brand new one put on last year too -- I'll hafta go back and look at the warranty info to see if there's anything I can do about it.
All the friends I had in high school who actually liked to talk about this stuff are on the whole out of my life -- you you all get to hear my philosophical ramblings today :D I apologize ahead of time.
I saw a video the other day that piqued my interest, about imagining the tenth dimension -- and I figured, "What the heck, let's give it a shot -- even though it's almost 12 minutes long." Well, I watched it all, and was impressed with how clear they were able to make it. My thoughts spun for the rest of the afternoon, making little thought experiments about this new abstract way of thinking. Of course, my thoughts quickly turned theological, and I was amazed how the Christian concept of a personal God fits perfectly into what the scientists and philosophers came up with here -- not only that, but (as it usually does) a higher understanding of science leads one to a heightened view of how awesome God really, truly is. In short, this is an abridged map of where my brain went in thinking about this:
We human creatures are bound by the fourth dimension (i.e. time) -- we cannot move freely about the time dimension (either forward or backward, despite the best intentions of creative minds like H. G. Wells to imagine the possibility), but are rather "swept up" in its current such that our consciousness, so to speak, moves in a positive direction along the fourth-dimension axis at a constant rate, until we cease to be. We can certainly, to a degree, control our physical position in the three spatial directions -- but we can only experience "now", like being a single point along the line of time. And "now" is lost to us forever before we can even think about it.
Now, from what the Christians know of God, we know that He is not bound by the Fourth Dimension -- "He knows the end from the beginning." Thus, we imagine God as looking at the whole time/space existence of the universe from outside of it. This, by the way, essentially blows away any skeptical arguments about whether or not human beings really have free will if God knows what we're going to do before we do it; to say it in these terms betrays a paradigm that assumes that God exists in time like we do, and He certainly does not. He doesn't know what I'm going to do before I do it -- but since to him "tomorrow" is the same as "today", all moments in time are "now" to Him. It's not that He knows what I'm going to do before I do it -- it's that what I am going to do tomorrow has already happened for Him, and he's watched me do it already. Weird, huh? XD
But God is even higher than that. He is not bound either by the Fifth Dimension either, which is the dimension that connects all of the different possibilities of what could possibly happen to anything, anywhere, at any time in the universe. From our human point of view, I can imagine several possible states of the universe, depending (for instance) on the choices I make today: if I got in my car and drove away, never to return to my house or my family or anything, and set up camp somewhere else, the universe tomorrow would look different than it will look if I did not do these things. And the lines that connect my present state to those two possible states in the future are drawn in the Fifth Dimension.
God must know all of these possibilities, for nothing surprises Him -- it's the only way He could tell Isaiah with confidence what the Messiah is going to be like, in detail, over 700 years before Jesus was born. And thus, it wouldn't make sense for God to be bound by the Sixth Dimension either, for He can go freely and instantaneously between all these infinite possibilities any time He wants to.
When we move on and think about the Seventh Dimension (and, then and on, into the Ninth Dimension), we find that God is not bound here either. Our universe (its constants, its initial conditions, etc) is a single point in the Seventh Dimension -- thus, to imagine another point to which to draw a line in that dimension, we have to think of another universe entirely -- one, for instance, where gravity is stronger than in ours, or where there is no such thing as magnetism. Obviously, since God created the universe and set these initial conditions as He pleased, he must be outside the Seventh Dimension -- in other words, He could have made the universe any way He wanted to, and so He must be in a plane that gives Him command over these several possibilities before deciding to create the "heavens and the earth". And, just like in the first three spatial dimensions (the dimensions are grouped into threes), you can quickly jump from understanding a line (1D), to understanding a figure made of several lines (2D), to a body made up of several figures (3D). So, in short, the Ninth Dimension is like a 3-dimensional space, where each point in it is a completely different universe, and one can freely move between them and make other bodies that combine them in ways that you would combine six squares to make a cube. This is obviously very abstract, and we can't really get our head around it :) But basically, the Ninth Dimension is, pretty much, Infinity: Every possibility of everything.
Now, here's where philosophers and scientists stop -- they say there cannot be anything higher than the Tenth Dimension (wherein the whole of Infinity, or the Ninth Dimension, is a single point). What else could there be? However, as a Theist, I began wondering if there could be higher dimensions than the Tenth :P
Now, our concept of a universe is spatial -- our universe exists spatially, i.e. it takes up space. It seems to me (in my days-old concept of this idea of the Tenth Dimension) that all of the universes in the Ninth Dimension also have some reliance on the three spatial dimensions (1,2, and 3) -- in other words, I don't see any scientists so far imagining a universe that has no space. I thought, what if there were a universe of spirits? Many of us think of heaven in this way -- not as a place that is bound by space, but as some transcendent "somewhere" that doesn't really have "matter" in it at all. (For the record, I don't think this idea of heaven is Biblical, but I'll go with it as a thought experiment.) If one could imagine such a world -- with no space, no matter, etc. -- could this be a point in the Ninth Dimension? Or would it be even higher than that? Would a space-less, matter-less universe that yet has some sort of incorporeal "spirit" life in it fit into this space of Infinity that we've imagined? Or not?
Of course I can't answer that question right now, just thinking out loud :) So, having reached the end of my thought in the higher dimensions, I began wondering: Are there dimensions lower than us? (i.e. Is there a dimension lower than the First Dimension?) I can certainly imagine there being such dimensions (it seems there'd have to be at least three) -- I got the idea from imagining myself in the Seventh Dimension, moving in all directions along the time/possibility axes to different cross-sections of our universe. From that vantage point, the "actual" fate of our universe would be a single point, which would be like a single story: If I'm writing a novel, that is a universe whose time I am not bound in -- I can move anywhere in the story and explore any possible outcomes of my story simply by "thinking" about it. Thus, it seems to be that a being who lived in the Seventh Dimension looking at our lives bound by the Fourth Dimension would see all the possibilities of our universe as the possible plots of a storyline -- and by "writing" that story, he would be identifying a single point in his "three-dimensional" space.
So, since we can reason, since we can imagine universes and stories and things with perfect ease, maybe the realm of "reason" or "thought" should get its own triplet of dimensions (Dimensions -2, -1 and 0). This only works if you assume that thought is real, and not just some "fake" phenomenon that's a byproduct of synapses firing in the brain. But what if thought was a real part of the universe? As a Christian, the idea doesn't seem too far off -- God thinks and reasons (He gave us a shadow of this ability in making us rational creatures), and He created our universe (our point in the Seventh Dimension) simply by "speaking" it into existence, much like we would "speak" a story or a mental image into existence with perfect ease. So, who's to say that when I envision a story, or a character, or even an entire universe (what's to keep me from this?), I'm actually identifying a single point in an infinite field of possible thoughts, each of which has a three-coordinate position in some "three-dimensional" "thought space" -- a space that actually exists?
This is as far as I've been able to think so far :)
I'm going through "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis again -- I read it once in high school and since then something has happened to my copy, but I'm borrowing it from a friend so I can read it again. I like Lewis' philosophy. Some of my favorite quotes so far from the first section:
"Supposing you hear a cry for help from a man in danger. You will probably feel two desires -- one desire to give help (due to your herd instinct), the other a desire to keep out of danger (due to the instinct of self-preservation). But you will find inside you, in addition to these two impulses, a third thing which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away. Now this thing that judges between two instincts, that decides which should be encouraged, cannot itself be either of them."
"We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."
"In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth -- only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair."
Ok, this one's too weird to pass up :)( Sanjeev the BardCollapse )
Haven't been on in awhile -- the things that are on my mind in the last couple months are either so intensely personal or downright incomprehensible, rendering me to feel at any urge to blog either unwilling or unable to say anything coherent about what's going on. That, and I've been writing more in my private prayer journal, which allows me to put down everything and thus making online journaling for the time being less of a cathartic experience anyway.
BUT... I have been keeping up with y'all :) Things are going very well for me, actually, in spite of my cryptic introduction :D I feel like God is stretching and growing me in ways that have been lacking, and though it can be painful or confusing in the short term I am joyful at the prospects offered by the implications behind this season of growth. God is preparing me for something -- several things, I'm quite certain -- and that's always an exciting thought.
My involvement in theatre this year is much higher than I would have guessed it would be as of last summer -- I am choreographing Oklahoma (dance rehearsals started yesterday), I'll be on the stage for Joseph after that, and in the summer I'll be directing the Junior Company for Dreamgirls. So far this is my first experience choreographing for the Music Hall in an actual head-lining production, and truth be told I don't think I'll ever do it again -- doing an entire show stresses me out (though Nicholle is helping me, which is a huge burden off my shoulders), and the pay is insulting. I was not at all looking forward to rehearsal yesterday, though it ended up being quite a blast. I'm optimistic about tonight's.
And it will be fun to do Joseph again -- it will be my first time doing the same role in a play twice :D I know I've mentioned this since talking about personal training with Craig (which is going really good -- it's nice to be in better shape). Side note: Turns out I have the metabolism of a 22-year-old -- score! Craig's schedule (and mine, because of rehearsals this week) has gotten a little crazy the last couple weeks, so we haven't met as often -- it's been kind of a bummer, but also an encouragement to actually be disappointed when I don't get to go to the gym. Having a workout partner really helps!
SNL was lame and disappointing this week. Though the joke about Fresno was pretty funny :D
Had a very vivid dream that woke me up around 4am, and thought "I gotta remember this so I can journal it later" -- thought about writing it down so I wouldn't forget, but "hey, it was so vivid, how could I forget it??"
Well guess what? Yeah, I know XD Maybe it'll come to me later.
Worship was nice yesterday -- felt like I finally got the atta-boy from God I was looking for. So though I'm still going through some difficult life-altering issues, I at least don't feel like I'm the red-headed step-child in God's family anymore. Related news: Found out when things are rough I tend to be fatalistic and exaggerate in my assessment of the situation :P
But God is good, all the time :)
Charles Barkley + SNL = surprisingly funny XD
Ok, I think I can do this. Let's see how it goes.
Everything's changed, it seems. Turned on a dime. All of a sudden, all of the things that I've learned in seven years of ministry seem to do no good, to no longer be adequate. The fruit of my labors and prayers seem to turn to powder in my hand. I think I understand a bit more the frustration Cain must have felt in Genesis 4, to have his sacrifice be rejected. No, I'm not jealous of anyone, and I'm not going to murder my brother -- but to work hard to please God and have the fruit of your labor be rejected, that's hard. And now, sin is crouching at my door, and I must master it.
What God said to Cain is key -- "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?" God didn't reject Cain because of some arbitrary whim; people like to excuse Cain, saying he got a bad rap, or had bad luck, but they're really just broadcasting their own rebellion against God -- they think that God ought to accept everyone's sacrifice, regardless of what it is, as if we were the center of the universe. But God says through the prophet Samuel, to Saul when the Spirit departed from him and his house: "To obey is better than sacrifice."
People try to do the same thing to others in the Bible who fell away, trying to project their justifications of their own rebellion to others who were "unlucky" -- Saul, Samson, Judas. They're fools and blind, unable to see their own arrogance against God. Cain should have known better -- and if he didn't he should have asked, could have asked. He had a face-to-face relationship with God, could have easily asked Him what he needed to do differently, what would the Lord delight in. But in Cain's choice to instead make himself the victim, to put his will above God's, to allow his jealousy and hurt to drive him to murder instead of repentance -- in that choice he exposed the disease in his heart, his rebellion, his disobedience. God didn't reject Cain's sacrifice because Cain was a farmer -- it was because Cain did what he thought should be good enough for God, and bristled when it ended up being insufficient.
Well, God, here I am, Cain reincarnate -- I feel his frustration, his hurt, at having the Spirit removed from me. But at least I have the benefit of Cain's example to help me not pretend to be a victim. If anything, I am a victim of my own ignorance and blindness -- I don't see what I need to do differently, and I feel like I should. But even in that I don't try to fool myself into thinking that any of that is God's fault. A lack of understanding does not have to lead to a lack of respect for God, and I am resolved to master those thoughts before I fall deeper into this pit I have made. It is frustrating not to understand, not to hear answers -- and though my faith be laughable I have at least enough to believe that it will not always be like this, that answers and change will come. It just sucks, is all.
Seems like all I've been talking about are the crazy dreams I've had, but this one was too good to pass up :)
( Elementary, dear WatsonCollapse )
I read in Lawhead's "Arthur" yesterday something like this: (Arthur:) "When the Lord gives you much, He requires much -- and I have been given more than any man in Britain. I fear lest I fail to give as much as I have been granted." I feel too small to give what I feel will shortly be required of me -- not that I know what that is, but only in the sense of looking at the magnitude of God's blessings for me lately in light of my ability to use them fully as a tool of the Kingdom. In clearer language, I feel God has blessed me so much -- and I don't feel capable of doing what He wants me to do with it. At least, not yet.
Had a meeting with Pastor Andy over lunch today, and he and I feel the same way about where I am and where I've been -- namely: stuck, stunted, not growing. Of course Pastor Andy felt somewhat responsible, but if so then it's a shame I share with him. I wrote in my prayer journal last week that I felt it was time to resurrect some old prayers about my purpose, my calling -- as much as I do in ministry, I still don't feel like I've arrived at that thing for which I am built. I've felt in the last months like I've been going through the motions, caring either too much or not enough about the outcome of my ministerial responsibilities to feel any hope of ever growing into what I want to be. I've felt this, I think, the whole of my Christian life: that I will ever be out of synch, that the right that I do will come from a knowledge that it is right rather than coming from a feeling that it is right. I realize now that there must have come a point when I stopped having hope of ever bridging the gap between who I am and who I want to be. I find it difficult to believe that there will ever come a time when I will "arrive", where I will feel in synch between how I feel and how I think I ought to feel.
I feel good about the action steps that Pastor Andy and I talked about today about stretching myself to fulfill what God is requiring of me -- but I can't yet believe that it will do what I have dreamed would happen. It's a sad realization, to have tangible cause to hope and yet to find that you are incapable of feeling it. As always, at least up to this point, I find myself relying on the intellectual belief that things will change, that God will start to turn this around -- and if that is indeed true, then I have to believe that there will come a time when I can finally feel that it's true.