Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Big Bang or The Great Swelling?

My parents bought the Book of Knowledge Children's Encyclopedia, the edition published in 1952.  I enjoyed many hours with the 20 volumes while growing up.  Even before I could read, the pictures had a great effect on me.  I have them and will occasionally pick one at random to read.  The other day I was looking at an article "The Men Who Mapped the Skies."  Evidently this was before the term "Big Bang" was the standard phrase for describing the expanding universe.  On page 3860 below is reference to Edwin Hubble and Milton Humason and how they showed the it is "as though the whole universe were swelling up."

Full View of the Page.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Books Read in 2015

Perhaps a little late but here's a list of what I read last year:

Except for the first, which I consider to be very important, no particular order, just as they came to mind.

On Care for Our Common - Home Laudato Si'     Pope Francis

On the Mystery:  Discerning Divinity in Process     Catherine Keller

Embracing a Beautiful God     Patricia Adams Farmer

The Authenticity of Faith:  The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Experience     Richard Beck

Saving Appearances: A Study in Idolatry     Owen Barfield

Re-Weaving the Rainbow:  The Thought of Owen Barfield     David Lavery editor

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism     Ha-Joon Chang

The Unvanquished    William Faulkner

Don't Be Such A Scientist     Randy Olson

From Teilhard to Omega: Co-Creating an Unfinished Universe     Ilia Delio editor

The Jesus Driven Life:  Reconnecting Humanity with Jesus     Michael Hardin with contributions by Brad Jersak and Tony Bartlett

Process Theology:  Embracing Adventure with God     Bruce G. Epperly

Re-Designing God:  Nuts and Bolts of the Emerging Religion     Jeremiah Cox

A Twin Mystery     Michael R. Cates

Whose Community?  Which Interpretation?:  Philosophical Hermeneutics for the Church    Merold Westphal

How (Not) To Be Secular:  Reading Charles Taylor     James K. A. Smith

Autobiography:  Truth and Fiction Relating to My Life     Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Wife Material:  A Novel of Misbehavior and Freedom     Deborah Cox

Code:  The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software     Charles Petzold

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Universe Really Is "Inspirited Matter" - Richard Rohr

I was reviewing some of the many pithy passages in Richard Rohr's book, Falling Upward, this morning.  Read it back in 2012.  So many concise, thoughtful insights that get me in the gut.  Here's one sample lifted from my Kindle:

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Richard Rohr)
- Highlight Loc. 1564-71 | Added on Friday, May 04, 2012, 08:07 AM

The gift of living in our time, however, is that we are more and more discovering that the sciences, particularly physics, astrophysics, anthropology, and biology, are confirming many of the deep intuitions of religion, and at a rather quick pace in recent years. The universe really is “inspirited matter,” we now know, and is not merely inert. Now we might call it instinct, evolution, nuclear fusion, DNA, hardwiring, the motherboard, healing, growth, or just springtime, but nature clearly continues to renew itself from within. God seems to have created things that continue to create and recreate themselves from the inside out. It is no longer God's one-time creation or evolution; rather, God's form of creation precisely is evolution. Finally God is allowed to be fully incarnate, which was supposed to be Christianity's big trump card from the beginning! 

For many years I could not perceive how this could be.  The beginning of my breakthrough was reading The Marriage of Sense and Soul by Ken Wilber in the fall of 1999.  Another important step was reading A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren followed by his other books.  And also thanks to Teilhard du Chardin with help from his interpreters John Haught (eg. Deeper Than Darwin) and Ilia Delio (The Emergent Christ and Christ in Evolution), as well as Philip Clayton (The Re-Emergence of Emergence), Harold Morowitz (The Emergence of Everything), The Language of God by Francis Collins and the Biologos Website and many others,  it makes sense to me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Why Are There Athiests?

Have been reviewing my Kindle bookmarks just now.  Don't remember underlining this but in a short booklet on Thomas Aquinas this jumped out at me.

Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages: A Layman's Quick Guide to Thomism (Taylor Marshall)
- Highlight Loc. 484-85 | Added on Friday, October 30, 2015, 12:15 PM

Usually, atheists or heretics are what they are because of scandal and moral scruples, not because of logical failures.

Have forgotten the context for this.  I recall in the early part of one of Brian McLaren's books, I think Generous Orthodoxy, he says that many of the liberal christians he has met are former fundamentalists or conservatives who've been through bad experiences.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Owen Barfield, C. S. Lewis and the Purpose of Argument

Somewhere I've read that C. S. Lewis is the closest thing that Evangelical Christians have to a Saint. In the past year I've been studying an interesting person who was a very close friend of his by the name of Owen Barfield.  They were so very close that Lewis mentioned Barfield in the dedication to his book, The Allegory of Love (1936) as the 'wisest and best of my unofficial teachers'.  Later Lewis dedicated the first Narnian chronicle to Lucy, Barfield's adopted daughter.  A short web search can easily be found describing this, such as here.

I first read Barfield's Saving Appearances: A Study in Idolatry earlier in the year.  It was difficult to understand.  I even read it again a few months later.  In order to proceed, I decided upon Re-Weaving the Rainbow:  The Thought of Owen Barfield.  This collection of essays has been a help.  A variety of topics are discussed.  Yesterday the thought below jumped out at me.  It is lifted from my Kindle.

Re-Weaving the Rainbow: The Thought of Owen Barfield (David Lavery)
- Highlight Loc. 7447-48 | Added on Saturday, January 02, 2016, 11:27 PM

Barfield doubts that he changed Lewis more than Lewis changed him. But of one thing he is certain and on this he and Lewis would be in agreement: "In our arguments we always, both of us, were arguing for truth not for victory, and arguing for truth, not for comfort."

If I understand properly, this quote originally comes from the book "Owen Barfield on C. S. Lewis".  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Thoughts on the End of Protestantism Articles

A response to Jay's post on the End of Protestantism which was inspired by a First Things Article that suggests a  move to Reformational Catholicism.

I think it is a good thing to acknowledge and learn from the wealth of Christian history prior to the Reformation.  The recently deceased Phyllis Tickle was of the opinion that Christendom undergoes a big change every 500 years.  The Reformation commenced about 500 years ago, The previous period began with the Great Schism between Catholic and Orthodox.  And roughly 500 years before that was the time of Pope Gregory the Great whose actions and import she describes in her books.  Of course this all began 500 years earlier with the life of Christ.  These periods are accompanied by changes in society.  In Pope Gregory's time it was the fall of the Roman Empire and changes in travel and communication and other structural changes of life then.  Of course, the Reformation was made possible by the invention of the printing press.  When the form of communication changes, the nature of human consciousness changes.  We live in such a time.  We are transitioning from a print culture to digital culture.  With this change comes new ways of looking at the Bible and religion.  It is good and necessary that we mine riches from the past.  And thanks to easy digital access to the writings of earlier Christian thinkers and contemporary students of them, we can.  But we should also look to the future and the changes that are in process and coming.  Our younger cohorts are not convinced by the word formulas lifted from a seemingly common sense reading of the Bible.  I say seemingly because one cannot read the Bible text by oneself.  One's community is sitting on the shoulder guiding the effort.  It is an exciting time to see all of this unfolding and the new styles of Christianity being born.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Don't Be Such A Scientist

I recently finished Randy Olson's book, Don't Be Such A Scientist.  After establishing himself as a scientist by teaching, doing field research, and publishing;  he decided to change his calling and make films.  Quite an odd progression it seems to me.  He desired to make documentaries that called on his science expertise. In order to pursue his new career he took acting classes.  The experience helped convey to him what stirs an audience.   He claims some of the very personality characteristics that help a person be a good scientist are a hindrance to science communication.  It is one reason much of the public has problems with understanding and being convinced by scientists in regard to climate change.

He says scientists are typically "handicapped by a blind obsession with truth."  They do not care much how something is said or by whom it is said as long as it meets scientific rigor.  However, the public is more likely to believe someone if they are likeable and good at telling a story.  They much show passion, emotion, and humor.

It is a difficult problem.  When I've read or see in the news about research and developments with which I'm familiar, I find simplifications and minor inaccuracies.  It has been awhile and specifics have left me, so I cannot think of an example.

I saw myself in his characterizations.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Do other planets have their own Christ?

Came across this post this evening an an Anglican web site:  Do other planets have their own Christ?

I've been thinking about this for many years.  Thought I'd blogged on it earlier but cannot find which post.  I recall one day in late 1998 when at a gymnastics event in Colorado telling my son's coach that I thought it was quite possible that other planets with sentient life may have their own version of the Christ.  They may have their own versions of Buddhism, Zen, and Mohammed too.  Perhaps not identical in every way but similar in function and characteristics.  Why do I feel this way?

Somewhere I read that the ability to fly had evolved at least three times on this planet.  First it was some insects that developed this capability.  Next, it was certain dinosaurs that did so and we now know them as birds.  Lastly, bats, which are mammals, were able to take to the sky.  Thus, it seems that any environment with animal creatures will have the potential for some of them to develop flight capability.

Judging from evolutionary history on our planet, certain things are inevitable.  Evolutionary nitches will be filled.  Pack animals develop societies.  This leads to development of tribes for the especially sentient ones.

If intelligent beings exist on other planets, why would not they develop language?  If so, then why would they not develop religions?  Would they not eventually develop agriculture?  Would they not also have world empires?  Oppression of smaller nations and peoples?  Rich and Poor?  Would they not do so many of the things that we do?  Would their religions not also be similar to ours, broadly speaking?

I think so and that is why I believe there must be a Cosmic Christ archetype.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Todays Interesting Quote

This is lifted from my Kindle clippings from a book I've been savoring.  The context is not given but I think it stands on its own, properly diagnosing what I've seen too often in my life.

Embracing a Beautiful God: Tenth Anniversary Edition (Patricia Adams Farmer)
- Highlight Loc. 1663-69 | Added on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 05:50 AM

I think God must suffer because of our need to be right.  Stone-cold “rightness” at the expense of relationships may indeed be for fundamentalists in religion or for egoists in academia.  But that kind of righteousness has no place in Beauty’s sphere.  Beauty is strong enough and big enough to handle contrasts and conflicts in its hugeness.  Beauty is flexible and forgiving and puts love above all things. Watching Lucy and Ethel reminds me that Beauty is always on the side of forgiveness, mercy, and friendship.  It also reminds me that life is short. So make up . . . before the bell rings.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Everything is Music to Walt Whitman and Me

This from Walt Whitman.  I feel the same way.  When a door slams and the phone rings at the same time, it is music, as John Cage once said.  When I'm in a factory.  When I'm at the center of a city waiting for a train or bus.  Anywhere and everywhere, the sounds coming to me are music.

When you read this, read it slowly, think and imagine each sound.  Sound is LIFE.

I think I will do nothing for a long time but listen, And accrue what I hear into myself . . . . and let sounds contribute toward me. I hear the bravuras of birds . . . . the bustle of growing wheat . . . . gossip of flames . . . . clack of sticks cooking my meals. I hear the sound of the human voice . . . . a sound I love, I hear all sounds as they are tuned to their uses . . . . sounds of the city and sounds out of the city . . . . sounds of the day and night; Talkative young ones to those that like them . . . . the recitative of fish-pedlars and fruit-pedlars . . . . the loud laugh of workpeople at their meals, The angry base of disjointed friendship . . . . the faint tones of the sick, The judge with hands tight to the desk, his shaky lips pronouncing a death-sentence, The heave’e’yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves . . . . the refrain of the anchor-lifters; The ring of alarm-bells . . . . the cry of fire . . . . the whirr of swift-streaking engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and colored lights, The steam-whistle . . . . the solid roll of the train of approaching cars; The slow-march played at night at the head of the association, They go to guard some corpse . . . . the flag-tops are draped with black muslin. I hear the violincello or man’s heart’s complaint, And hear the keyed cornet or else the echo of sunset. I hear the chorus . . . . it is a grand-opera . . . . this indeed is music! A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me, The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full. I hear the trained soprano . . . . she convulses me like the climax of my love-grip; The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies, It wrenches unnamable ardors from my breast, It throbs me to gulps of the farthest down horror,

Leaves Of Grass: The First Edition of 1855 + The Death Bed Edition of 1892 (Walt Whitman)
- Highlight Loc. 706-20 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 01:26 AM

Monday, September 28, 2015

Unexpected Cure Covers Don't Worry, Be Happy

My nephew Rob Shaver and singing partner, both cancer survivors sing for patients in San Antonio.

"Your Doctor says you blood counts low, you won't be singin in a Broadway Show.  Don't Worry Be Happy!"

They call themselves Unexpected Cure.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Conversation has a Spirit of Its Own

Am working through Merold Westphal's Whose Community? Which Interpretation? Half way through he is discussing Gadamer.  I'll lift this quote from Westphal with an embedded quote from Truth and Method by G.

...when conversation takes place willingly and humbly, the partners "are far less the leaders of it than the led . . . All this shows that a conversation has a spirit of its own (TM 383/385)"

It seems to me that is how good conversation should be.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Laudato Si

This is the first encyclical I've ever read. For me it was moving and characterized by great depth. Pope Francis did not discuss climate change in detail, only used those two words a few times. He described that the larger problem is how we treat the earth. And, that how we do that affects us all. He does not prescribe solutions but asserts that a variety of possible proposals may be effective for achieving solutions. Here is a significant snippet which I think summarizes his approach and which I like. 

"Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth."

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