Showing posts with label Memory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memory. Show all posts

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Memory Lapse

Every little local church has its characters. That’s not exactly what Peter was referring to when he called us a “peculiar people”, but it remains the case all the same. Some Christians are … well, odd. They study the scripture diligently, which is good, but seem to reliably produce the weirdest possible interpretations of it, which is probably not so good.

Novelty isn’t exclusively associated with error, but when we run into a Christian whose energies are primarily devoted to coming up with interpretations that defy conventional wisdom, a little verification is in order.

To say the least.

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Semi-Random Musings (29)

Three unrelated thoughts about failures of memory.

Critics of dispensational teaching frequently insist that it cannot be valid because we do not find it discussed explicitly in the writings of the church fathers or, to the best of our limited knowledge, throughout the next couple of millennia of church history. I have always found that a weak argument, not least because both our knowledge of church history and of the opinions of the church fathers are so fragmentary. In fact, precious truths are far more easily lost than we might think.

Perhaps that’s why Proverbs says, “Buy truth, and do not sell it.” Some things are invaluable.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Things That Last and Things That Don’t

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.”

There are things that last and things that don’t.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Semi-Random Musings (24)

I have found myself thanking the Lord for some strange things lately. One of them is death. Another is the limits of human memory.

The mind of God is a staggering thing to contemplate. The moment we do so we are almost guaranteed to get something wrong. Nevertheless, enough has been written about it in scripture that we can be confident there is nothing God does not know, no prayer he does not hear, no burden of which he is not aware, and therefore no care or adverse circumstance in which he is unable or unwilling to provide grace.

That’s pretty amazing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

My youngest son has an amazing memory for detail. If you play him a song he’s familiar with, he can tell you when he first heard it — year, month and sometimes day — where we were and what we were doing at the time, and probably what video game was released that week.

I, on the other hand, can go back into the ComingUntrue archives, read a two-year-old post, and wonder “Who wrote that?”

It was usually me.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The Haunting of the Past


Ah, that most New York-ese of all New York expressions!

There are things you can sort out, and things you can’t. Go back and fix your mistakes if you can; but if you can’t, there’s only one thing you can do.

Learn how to forget about it.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

The Divine Memory

“I will not remember your sins.”

Some people teach that God’s knowledge is limited. They rely on verses like the one I have just quoted to make the case that there are boundaries to the Infinite, self-imposed or otherwise.

We may disagree with them, but they bring up a point worth examining, and that is this: What does it mean that God does not “remember” the sins of his people?

After all, it’s a promise, and we know we can put our confidence in God’s promises. That being the case, we might be wise to figure out what exactly it is that God is promising.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Anonymous Asks (17)

“Why memorize scripture?”

I don’t know about you, but more than once I have found myself wishing I had committed more of the Bible to memory when I was young. It’s much, much easier to memorize things in your youth than in middle age. As you get older, new information, names, places and details become harder to retain. Over-40s can still memorize new things, but it takes 20-30% more time for us to do it.

Hey, we’re old. Time is one thing we don’t have enough of.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

God’s Great Data Repository

Humanity’s drive to preserve itself is acute and perpetual.

How does the next generation come to know who we are and what we have learned? Our wisdom, our knowledge — our very selves, if that were possible — need to be passed on. In doing so, it is thought, we give our own lives meaning. On their way to the grave, even hardened materialists appeal to the notion that they will somehow “live on” in the memories of those with whom they interact. That hope is illusory: human memory degrades with astounding rapidity.

The invention of electronic data storage appeared to provide a solution.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Thought Experiment #3: Consciousness and Memory

I’ve been thinking again about the consciousness of God.

I know: heavy subject, holy ground, tread carefully. I’m on tiptoes.

We recently ran a post from Immanuel Can on the subject of memory. He makes the case that there are certain things Christians need to let go of and move on from in order to stay spiritually healthy. I think he’s right about that. Now, for IC, that moving-on process entails refusing to nurse or justify feelings of grief, bitterness or anger about things we cannot change.

We need God’s help for that, and it’s easier said than done, I know.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Haunting of the Past

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Recollection and Response

Old Testament writers often describe God in human terms, though we know from other statements in scripture that many of the human qualities they ascribe to God cannot possibly be true of him in precisely the same way they are true of us.

Memory is a good example, as Ashrei points out:

“To remember, so we are inclined to think, is primarily to preserve in our consciousness a fact or an experience. A ‘good memory’ is one which retains precisely and vividly that which has been seen, heard or learned. In short, we tend to regard memory as simply one comprehensive archive. Retention of the past has great significance per se. However, it hardly exhausts the full range of memory.”

When the Old Testament speaks of God “remembering”, it does not merely refer to his ability to retain information, as it might with us.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Total Recall

My memory is getting worse. I don’t think I’m imagining it.

Then again, if I were, how would I know, really?

On one level this alarms me. Any age-related change to the function of mind or body is a reminder that “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls”. Or as a friend of mine is fond of saying, “We’re all going there”.

That’s for sure.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Recommend-a-blog (21)

Michael Patton is a writer, blogger and president of Credo House Ministries. He is also, as he puts it, “waiting to die”.

This is where our readers usually check out, and I don’t blame you. On this blog, posts that are obviously about death are among our least-read, a fact that doesn’t surprise me at all. I suspect this is true across the board: after all, who wants (naturally, at least) to think about dying? In some ways, even Christians can be as uniformitarian as atheists: we know full well that we are all “waiting to die”, but a world without me in it still seems difficult to imagine.

I’ll see if I can find a great big gravestone picture to make the post’s subject especially obvious.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What Lies Behind

What do we do with the past?

In one sense, obviously, not much. It is what it is. We can’t change it, we can’t rewrite it, and while we can reinterpret it, that may not be a particularly useful exercise if our current outlook is an honest one.

Still, how we process our past and how our thoughts about it affect us today are significant.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Programming or Persuasion?

I grew up watching something that worked. Not everyone has that experience.

My father loved my mother and vice versa. They were not perfect — nobody is — but they consistently modeled their Christian faith for their children. As a result, I and my siblings grew up conscious there was at least one worldview out there that produced a positive real-life outcome for those who held it.

Some people think that’s programming.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Inbox: Down the Memory Hole?

Tertius writes:

Your chat with IC made me think of ‘I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.’ ”

Quite so. IC talked a little about the potential dangers of making dogmatic theological statements on the basis of figurative language, or what are sometimes called biblical “anthropomorphisms”. He points out that the writers of scripture use:

“… human-style metaphors, like the hand of God’, because we know what ‘hands’ are ... not because God the Father has a physical body like ours.”

“I will remember” is another of these human-style metaphors.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Room in My Heart

What do we mean when we talk about “living on” in one another’s hearts?

We certainly say it enough.

Thomas Campbell said, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”. If the content of our eulogies and obituaries indicates anything at all, then it seems we believe him.

Taken literally, Campbell’s statement is categorically untrue. Even if we firmly believe in Christian resurrection or some kind of afterlife, we recognize that death creates a disconnect between us and those we love that cannot be bridged this side of eternity. In the physical sense, dead is dead. But that is neither what Campbell means nor what we mean when we mourn using similar language.