Showing posts with label Meaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meaning. Show all posts

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Tracking True

So it was my birthday, and a friend says to me, “Why don’t we go sailing on the big water?”

I’d sailed in a small way before, but that sounded good. So off we set.

My friend let me take the tiller while he went up to the prow deck and relaxed in the sun. “Just keep your eye on the compass in front of you and trust that,” he said. “So long as it says what it says now, we’re going to be on course.”

Friday, January 27, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: More Than Me

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

This topic is considerably less incendiary than the current Palestinian situation or the question of whether or not churches should be led by one man, but when posted its list of “ultimate questions” and asked which ones its audience considered most important, this one finished second:

“Why do people insist on looking outside themselves for a reason for their life?”

Tom: Immanuel Can, what do you think about that: is there more than me, and why should I care if there is?

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The God Point

Everybody’s on the JBP train today, it seems.

I mean the “Jordan B. Peterson” train. For those who have been living under a rock (or perhaps have no love for YouTube or other media), Dr. Peterson has been the center of much rapt attention over the last couple of years. How a psychologist and philosopher of religion rose to the pinnacle of worldwide publicity is quite an odd story. Starting with his principled stand against transgenderism and compelled speech in Toronto, continuing with his publications in print and on YouTube, and then in widely-viewed and controversial interviews on worldwide television, JBP has positioned himself as the most famous public intellectual of recent years.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Immediate and Greater Context

Over at Stand to Reason, Alan Shlemon is back on the subject of the importance of reading in context. I too am convinced that context is probably the single most crucial way to accurately determine the intended meaning of any verse in scripture, so as you may imagine, I find myself agreeing with almost everything Alan has to say.

In discussing the Lord’s much-misunderstood promise that begins with the words “For where two or three come together in my name,” Shlemon asserts that “Jesus begins and ends by talking about how to respond to a sinning brother. Therefore, the meaning of verse 20 must be restricted to that context, making it unlikely that it is about God being present among believers.”

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Time and Chance (54)

We have arrived in our study of Ecclesiastes at what the Preacher calls “the end of the matter”. The matter under consideration, if you have a long memory, was this: “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” What is the point of man’s existence? Why are we here? This was the question he set out to answer.

Through twelve chapters, the Preacher has undertaken the task of examining the experience of being human from every possible angle in hope of gaining insight into its meaning and purpose, always using only what he could observe and infer from the input of his senses. What he discovered was that when you approach the big questions of life in that way, the experience is frustrating and the answers elusive.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Time and Chance (33)

Once upon a time, one of the richest, most powerful and wisest men in all of human history set himself the task of discovering the meaning of life. He found himself frustrated. He also recorded his search step by step for us in the book of Ecclesiastes. He added one observation to another seeking to uncover what he calls “the scheme of things”.

In doing so, oddly enough, he found himself repeatedly looking not just at the created world, or at society, but at individual men and women. In their own existential thrashing about, the more alert unbelievers today do exactly the same thing: they look around at others in hope of finding lives well-lived and lifestyles worth emulating — people of integrity and consistency — and, informing those qualities, perhaps some coherent explanation of our place in the universe that will satisfy their thirst for meaning and purpose.

After all, you are not terribly likely to discover a coherent worldview in a brothel or under a barroom table, are you?

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Time and Chance (10)

What does it mean that God has “put eternity into man’s heart”? The statement is baffling and comprehensible in near-equal parts.

It is impossible to imagine mere human beings are capable of any substantive grasp of the transcendent or even the nature of our own being. That’s the baffling part. We are not fully equipped to understand ourselves, let alone anything more significant. We are more animals than angels: tiny, exceedingly finite beings concerned primarily with matters of comparative trivia.

The comprehensible part is that on some undefined level we all understand that the Preacher’s statement is true. We know it because we feel it.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Tracking True

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Anonymous Asks (33)

“Why does God allow trials, tribulations, and suffering?”

If we are speaking of suffering in general, whole books have been written in answer to this question. Our own Immanuel Can wrote an open letter about it to conservative author Dinesh D’Souza in 2016. If you are looking for a philosophical explanation for the necessity of pain in a fallen world, you may find it there.

One thing we can be sure of: the answer is not simple. Another thing we can be sure of is that people who observe suffering are bound to speculate about its cause. It’s human nature. Perhaps you remember the question Jesus’ disciples asked upon encountering a blind man: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?”

They were wrong, of course. Those are far from the only two options.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The God Point

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: More Than Me

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Inbox: Grace and Gratitude

PB takes thoughts from last Monday’s post in an interesting direction:

“ ‘Grace’ as understood today does indeed fall woefully short of conveying the depth of meaning in charis. Gratia, whence cometh grace, was ‘a goddess of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility in Greek mythology’, so it isn’t that the meaning has changed — it’s pretty close actually. It’s as you say — we don’t have an equivalent in English for charis.”

If we are to talk usefully about grace to people who do not understand what we mean by it, we are probably best to use four or five different English words, each conveying a single aspect of the meaning of charis.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Libels and Labels

People love labeling stuff.

This is not without good reason, I think. In bringing the animals to Adam to see what labels he would put on them, God dignified both, granting the man authority and the animals identity. It was also an immensely practical thing to do. Imagine the complexity of having to forever refer to “that big leathery thing with tusks and a hose for a nose” or “the small furry black thing that lives in my house that is not the same as the slightly larger small furry black thing”.

You can see why we have taken to labeling things like fish to water. It simplifies life.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Tracking True

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: A Reason Outside Ourselves

The most current version of this post is available here.