Monthly Archives: May 2013

Redeeming Social Media

I didn’t know so many people who have discovered my last post. I am somewhat of an avid blogger, but my works only get read by a few people. Here is a post I wrote a few days on my other blog. 

Many people have scattered opinions on social media. Many cultural critics decry the individualistic nature of social media, the egoistic tendency to shout to the world every minute detail, from peeling a banana for morning breakfast, to clipping one’s toe nails. Social media is a platform for mass communication, and in the instance of Facebook, to hundreds of people instantly with a click of a button. Despite the negatives of social media, it has always been an outlet for me to express myself, and give news to others in meaningful ways. In some ways, it has helped me empathize with people from great distances, and to dive into the minds of people I normally would not talk to. In fact, Facebook has helped me interact in real-life with friends. Social media is only as shallow as one makes it, so the more willing one is willing to post meaningful, socially conscious information, even artful work, than the more you get out of it. Furthermore, Facebook is a great place for debate, and differing opinions, if one chooses to not isolate one’s self to groups. 

 
The key to redeeming social media is through understanding one’s audience, and the diverse amount of people who are on your friend’s list. I would argue that one’s posts should somehow be relevant, or at least show concern for those who follow you. There’s nothing worse than people who post consistently irrelevant, annoying, insensitive statuses without regard for the follower. If a post does not enlighten someone to an important cause, entertain them, or allow for genuine emotion, than the post is not worth posting. There are thousands of statuses, tweets everyday, and they get lost in the colossal tornado of mass information. As responsible social media users, we have to care about the details, have variety, or we will be lost in the hackneyed, cliche, swirl of statuses, and tweets. If one wants to posts details about where one has been, what they are eating, etc., add something at least interesting instead of only a picture. 
 
Social media is a platform that we all have, but we have to ask ourselves who is our audience. And if a post is actually worth posting. Are we directing towards a certain individual, and if so shouldn’t we just message them?  Remember, all your information is public and once it is out, it might never be erased.  We are only as superficial as we make Facebook, or Twitter. And the more selfish we make it, we may realize that we have few people who actually love or care for the information that we post.  Instead of being afraid of social media, or declaring it all out evil, it can be a productive place to have fun, spread ideas, input perspective, give love, kindness, and hope to people.
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A Meditation on the Problem of Evil, the Existence of Spirits, and God

I’ve been going through a difficult season lately. And things in my life seem to be funneling out of control. I don’t like to dwell on it, but it keeps on reappearing, the thought that God is distant, or He is not there for me in my life. It goes deeper, to the edge of crisis as I contemplate the depth of evil and suffering in the world, and in my life.

If God indeed exists, he is either in control of the world, or leaves the world completely free to make it’s own decisions. Or it could be a complicated mixture of both.
The first argument is pure predestination, that God controls everything, very much like a puppeteer controls his puppets to do his will. Nothing is much of a surprise to God because he controls everything according to his will.
The second argument is much like a watch-maker who creates a watch, tweaks to the exact calibrations, and then stands aside. This is a God of ultimate free will, who doesn’t ever intervene.
The third argument is God is somehow in control of the world, but yet gives us freedom to decide for ourselves, and our choices have consequences, and we are partakers in this world.  God occasionally intervenes in this world through miracles and in subtle, subversive ways.
The problem of evil is extremely madden. If God is truly in control of this world, and everything has a purpose in this life, God is also the author of evil, God controls people into committing such sickening, sinful crimes, such as rape, murder, sexual-abuse, war, etc. This view could be as the same time very comforting because God is using such evil for his means, but equally problematic because God is the author of such evil.
The second is equally problematic, if God is completely unwilling, or unable to intervene, he is a powerless God who is akin to committing such atrocities. He allows people to kill one another, he allows rape to occur, he is like a fireman who refuses to save people from a burning building or to put out a fire. God is either a sick person, or a completely weak person undeserving of our praise and affections. The strength of this argument is that God is not directly responsible for such actions, because he didn’t cause them in the first place. However, it seems far too chaotic and unloving for a God who does not intervene in history.
The last view is a paradox, an ontological conundrum. According to my knowledge the Pharisees of Jesus’ time believed the same. God is somehow sovereign, and control of the universe, and supports and binds it according to his purposes. People are free-agents, making decisions thus being accountable for their life choices and decision making. God is somehow able to guide the works of both evil and good towards his will. God is beyond time and space, he looks over time somehow like a straw, and he can see both beginning and ends.
The problem with the first and second views is they lead to either a God who is ultimately a control freak, who is inflexible, and domineering, and no one is essentially accountable for their actions, or even their sins. The second lends us to a God who is powerless, and ignorant of the ways of humanity. God is a bad parent who leaves the child in a kitchen as they fiddle around with the kitchen stove, knives, and smoke detectors.
The last one may feel like a cop-out but it is the only one that makes reasonably sense to me, and a God who I could truly worship. He is somehow omnipotent, and loving at the same time. He is able to intervene into history, do miracles, save people from their hellish conditions, and at the same time honor free-will, decisions, and consequences. Throughout the OT, God allows his people to make stupid decisions from worship a gold cow, to rising up against their savior Moses, yet he accomplishes his ultimate plans, no longer how long it takes. He even takes Balaam’s curse against Israel and turns that into a blessing.
I don’t know much about the spiritual realm, I’ve never had any visions, or any spectacular miracles beyond reality. I’ve never heard the voice of God before, although I thought I heard someone say my name in the dark, but it could have been my imagination while I was falling asleep. I’ve never seen an angel before, I’ve never seen the devil, or evil spirits before. I don’t really fear these “spiritual forces” because I’m protected from these things anyways, and they are beyond my rational comprehension. I don’t like to blame my sin, or even others sins on evil spirits, because it takes away personal responsibility, and seems a bit like a cop-out to me. Call me a modernist, but I think most of these “feelings” are based upon psychological blind spots and tricks we pull on inadvertently on ourselves. I am not saying there is no possibility of “spiritual beings” or specters, but they play a very minimal role in my life. I don’t pray to angels, I don’t blame accidents and maladies on demons, spirits, or any other forces.
I’ve been a Christian most of my life because I think I’ve experienced God. I feel God, although it might be my imagination. I am well aware of confirmation-bias, looking for evidence which affirms my presuppositions, or my desires. Or the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia, when one sees patterns in random data.  But in many ways, we are all bias, looking through different lenses, based on our ethnicities, nationalities, experiences, social statuses, family upbringing, genes we inherit.
I was born in a Christian family, and my Dad is a pastor.  I’ve been surrounded by Christian communities, and sometimes I think the people around me are a bit eccentric and crazy. I don’t know if God is speaking to them or it’s just their own imaginations. As Catholic theologians teach us Truth is ultimately God’s and whenever we seek truth we will find God.
I’ve been trying to pray, differently than I’ve been before. I’m asking God to reveal himself in a tangible way. He has been silent for quite awhile, and I’m trying to hear and listen to his voice. I’m asking God: “Where have you been? Have you been listening to me God? Why can’t I feel you anymore?” Very much like Aristotle, I am revisiting the past, trying to clean the slate and look from some type of limited objective standpoint. I am looking at instances in my life and believing whether God was there or he was not.
Three things that guide me away from being an atheist:
1. If God didn’t exist, the only reason for me to live, if I had no faith would be for the “good” will of all man. That “good” will would be somehow arbitrarily based on my  presuppositions. Furthermore, there would never be true justice, and restoration for the hundreds of people who have died, suffered, under totalitarian regimes, dictators, killers, rapists, husband-beaters, child-pornographers, etc. There is no justice for these people, and their lives would have been a waste of needless suffering. The idea of injustice would be far too overwhelming and maddening for me. The eschatological argument that the “good” are redeemed, and blessed and the “evil” are punished accordingly, is fully fleshed out here.
2. Being a Christian is the only reason for me to act counter to the most basic desire to love my enemies as I would love myself. This commandment is counter to every fiber of my being, that I would rather have all my enemies hung on the gallows or burned on the stake. Jesus’ most basic commandment, hinges upon the idea that God first loved us, and that God himself is love.
3. I would like my thankfulness to be directed upon a source which is relatable, knowable, and tangible. Any blessings I’ve received in this life, is a product of my creator’s lavish grace bestowed upon me, without any pretenses. I can be thankful for a being, instead of thanking mere chance. Origins of the world (the how) doesn’t concern me, but on “who” and “why” the earth was created. And I can be thankful that there is even a purpose, end goal to a seemingly meaningless world.
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Balloons

The balloons were foreign to him

brightly coloured baby reds, greens, pinks, and blues

bonding through rubbing a genie bottle

imbalance of charges

They float, hovering strings trailing the grounds

never touching, no connections

with his own grooves curving on his fingerprints

thermogram, sunset red to navy blue

wafting off, undetected but invisibly seen

and the pin, metallic pinnacles glinting at the end

just a small prick, won’t hurt too much

their balloon heads bobbing in agreement exploded

with a rush of air of a thousand kamikaze jet planes propelling

rubber wrinkly, shrinking, shirking responsibility,

exhaling carbon dioxide is a crumb trail for mosquitos missiles

All the balloons are floating for entertainment

for a single purpose and desire

for the ascension, to be litter, or the resurrection

We look fresh and boisterous when alive

but we return back to our pre-blown fetal forms

small maggot worms

crumbs malleable, prehistoric fossil forms

Freshly Squeezed

Strange how I find a new blog to be so attractive, so appealing, so fresh and new. It’s a new start, a new beginning. We all like new beginnings, because we like the slate to be wiped clean, to eradicate preconceptions, prenotions, all the “things” that get in the way of truly experiencing, digesting, and analyzing a blog post on it’s own merit.

This blog will be devoted to simply sorting through the contemplations, meditations, and  writings I dwell upon on a day-to-day basis. I make no promises, and I don’t expect you to make any either.

This can be a place of dialogue, which would be more fun on my part, and more beneficial to you.

A preliminary introduction is that I’m much more of an observer than anything. I am quite introspective, and friendly as well. I’m humorous, sarcastic,  somewhat of a nut.  My posts cover society, psychology, theology, Christianity, culture, and common place things. Welcome