Life: December 2004 Archives

The Divine Watch-Setter

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Those coming from a theistic perspective a likely to view this event pretty differently from those coming from a naturalistic perspective. As the sermon was approaching its end last Sunday, an alarm went off. After the guy next to me checked his watch and it wasn't his, I realized it was mine. I promptly hit something on it to stop it. I forgot to check it later to see what had happened, because I usually don't have the alarm turned on or set for any time in particular. Apparently some buttons had gotten pressed while it was occupying space in my pocket along with the four pens (of different colors) and a mechanical pencil that make their home there. Well, on Thursday as I was doing a walk-through to make sure we'd gotten all we needed packed into our van for our time in NH and NYC, I was about to head downstairs, thinking we were good, and I heard my alarm go off on my office desk. I went in and got my watch and the four or five other items I have left there to be put into my pocket before we left. The alarm had been set for 11:49 am. There's no way that was a time I'd set if for, so both the time itself and the fact that the alarm were turned on would seem to be accidentally caused.

Naturalists just leave it at that. Theists who believe a purposive mind orders what appear to be mindless processes read this sort of situation very differently, particularly those who believe that this mind has purposes that involve human beings, even ones in favor of good outcomes for human beings. According to the theistic worldview, my alarm may well have been set for 11:49 am and turned on, both my processes outside the direct control of any human being, so that my alarm would go off just as I was about to leave, prompting me to remember that it was there and not leave it at home for five days.

Asthmatic Bronchitis

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I was planning my 850th post to coincide with the seventh anniversary of my brother Joel's death. I've talked about him before here, here, and here. I had just enough posts left to do 2-4 posts a day and then have this one be on Thursday. Then I got really, really sick (no, not with asthmatic bronchitis -- keep reading for that). It took nearly two days to get whatever vile offense was in my system out. Then within six hours after I had literally solid evidence of my improvement I was struck again (yes, that was awful, and yes, it was intended), this time in an even more incapacitating manner but with such intensity that it didn't last as long. I was better by the middle of the next day. Of course that was Friday. Doh! I've finally gotten around to the 850th post, and we're three days beyond the anniversary of when my brother died. I'm also exhausted from grading like a monster for well over a week, putting in a few days of over twelve hours (the two longest days were during the time I was sick as a dog, one I think a full 18 hours). I just don't want to spend the time writing up what I wanted to write. I also have only a short window of a weekend to relax for a bit before I have a week to get my grades for one class in, amidst hosting the Christian Carnival next week. I should easily have time for both, but I might have some more long days if I don't want some long nights next weekend.

The main reason I'm not doing what I wanted to do, aside from the time it would take to reflect on the things I wanted to watch (the memorial service at his college that I couldn't make and still haven't seen, a concert of the one band he was in during high school that I wasn't part of, which I haven't seen for a while, and news footage from when he died, most of which I haven't seen at all), is that such reflection just takes a tremendous amount of work. There are three things that it's just pointless to ask me to try to do when I'm in this condition -- physical work, thinking about important decisions, and reflecting on my inner life. I can read a detailed commentary with all the little Greek details or pick up some technical philosophical article with all its complex logical symbols, and I might even have something to say about it. This is exactly what I prefer to do when I'm exhausted, and I enjoy it as a way to slow down at the end of a long day or week. When it comes to reflecting on what's going on within my own inner workings, that takes being in the best condition, both physically and emotionally. I just simply can't do it very effectively otherwise, and I certainly won't want to. Now when it comes to what's gone on inside me for the past seven years, I think you can see why I don't want to venture into that realm in my current state. This is partly because of the way God made me. Joel was always the exact opposite. The lyrics below make that clear. (Myers-Briggs results: me, ISTJ; Joel, ENFP). I did want to do some sort of recognition of his life, but since I can't force myself to reflect for any more than this introduction required, I've decided just to post the lyrics to my favorite song by him, called Asthmatic Bronchitis:

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