Sunday, April 25, 2010

Self-evaluation Weekend

Starting on Friday I had some things to mull over about myself. All of it was in a positive way, it was just some personal understanding stuff. On Friday evening a friend and I were talking about taking the opportunities life throws you or choosing to walk away from them. I like to think I am the kind of person who takes ALL the opportunities, big or small. It's lead to some pretty neat stuff: singing at Carnegie Hall, meeting President GW, singing the national anthem at a minor league baseball game, meeting a bunch of Mariner's players on the field, etc. He pointed out there is an area in my life where I haven't taken all the opportunities presented to me. This particular opportunity has been presented multiple times in my life and each time I've turned it down. Granted there is a moral reason for this but I started thinking that perhaps there was something more to my decision than just that. I realized yesterday while ruminating on this that I have some serious trust issues that I've never really faced or understood. We've all dealt with rejection. It sucks. It's survivable. Or it has been up to this point. But I also realize that it has caused me to keep part of myself to myself. I've held a part of myself sacred to myself because I don't trust anyone else to not take advantage of it or crush it a little bit. I'm not saying this hasn't served me well, perhaps it has, perhaps it has limited some of the relationships I've been in. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Really, it's simply something to think about in how I deal with people in my life and the decisions I make moving forward. I think we all need to recognize fears and insecurities and how it effects us and the people we interact with on a regular basis. I know I will continue to struggle on occasion with trusting people to not hurt me or leave me or to find a better option but being aware of this fact might take me a long way in improving relationships in the future.

I'm reading a book called Blink by Ted Dekker right now. My assistant Jon gave it to me to read. Evidently, he really likes the author although he says this isn't his best book. I'm not very far into it so I can't tell you if it is worth reading or not. However, there was discussion in the book about free will and predestination. As any of you who have read my blog for long knows, this is something that I really struggled with a few summers ago. I never came to a good conclusion about it. I don't really know what I believe but I decided it was something that didn't really matter as far as my salvation or my belief in Jesus as my savior but philosophically it made a difference. I finally did decide that without any Biblical reasons but based on my personal relationship with Jesus I lean toward free choice with an understanding God knows what choice I am going to make before I make it. It seems a bit contradictory but in my mind based on my relationship with Jesus it makes perfect sense. This section of the book sort of explained the reason behind my final conclusion better than I have. So - for your reading pleasure:

Harland regarded him for a moment. "Do you really believe that God exists, or is he just a concept to you - a mathematical abstraction?"

"I'm not sure I see the difference, but yes, I do believe in God. We are living in a definite design. A design that requires a designer. I see that like I see numbers - plain and simple. What I don't see is how man's attempts to know God through religion make any sense. The very existence of God contradicts the idea that we have free will or choice."

"I don't buy that conclusion," Harland said.

"What's there to buy?" Seth leaned forward and took a sheet of paper from Harland's desk. "May I?"

"Be my guest. This is the equation you wrote?"

"No. This is more of a hypothetical syllogism. In the vernacular." He spoke his argument as he drew it out longhand.

(A) If an all-knowing God exists, then he knows precisely what THE future is. (He knows I'm going to cough in ten seconds.)
(B) If God knows what THE future is, then that future WILL occur, unless God is mistaken. (I WILL cough in ten seconds.)
(C) Because God cannot be mistaken, there is NO possibility that any other future, other than the one future which God knows, will happen. (There's NO possibility I won't cough in ten seconds.)
(D) THEREFORE, if God exists, there is only ONE future, which is THE future he knows. (I cough in ten seconds.)

Seth set the pencil down.

"If God exists, the probability of there being more than one possible future is zero. To believe God exists also requires you to believe that the future is unalterable. By definition. There is only one future, and no amount of willing or choosing or praying or churchgoing can change it. Religion has no purpose."

"Knowledge of fact doesn't necessarily prove singularity of future."

"You're only splitting hairs between knowledge of fact and probabilities."

Harland smiled. "For reasons of faith that won't make any sense to you now, I disagree. And I'm no idiot; I hope you'll give me at least that."

"Of course. But it seems to me that you're committing intellectual suicide to choose faith over logic."

I believe faith clearly plays a roll but I also think there is an aspect of relationship and God listening to us and our worship of him, not that you can earn anything based on your worship or your devotion or your works, but your communication with God has a place and therefore, religion has a role. Without free choice as some part of the equation I think it takes away the relational side of God and that's what I feel the most strongly, even when I feel his silence.

On another note, Jess and I started training for the Beat the Grade bike ride in late June. I still haven't committed with a registration but I'm feeling like it's something I should challenge myself to do. It's an 18 mile bike ride with 8 of those miles being pretty straight uphill, gaining 2000 feet in those 8 miles. It's gonna be intense. It's gonna be an accomplishment.

Oh yeah.


Wenikio said...

I love that book. I'm reading Tipping Point right now :)

Jessy said...

Oh Yeah Sis! It's going to be fun, and Barney backed out. Tina planned a camping trip with friends that weekend, so he can't go. :( But Eric is probably going to ride with us. He's really wanting to do it. Barney says the hill isn't as steep as doomsday hill at Bloomsday, but it is longer than that hill. I'm confident we can do it! And I absolutely agree with you. God has given us free will, but he already knows what we'll choose. :)