Category: Observations

Yeah, that happened: A Third Commandment Story

I don’t think I’ve really told a work story since the infamous “I met a man who came back from the dead” incident (read that HERE). This one won’t get as many views as that one, but it’s interesting to me nonetheless.

As is often the case, I had the unfortunate duty of telling a customer that her prescription would cost a small fortune. I always try to help them brace for the bad news:

‘Now let me tell you first off that you do not have to buy this prescription. We can hold on to it while you think about it, we can call your doctor and discuss other options, or we can just give the prescription back to you.’

‘How much is it?’ she asks.

‘Over 300 dollars,’ I reply.

‘Jesus Christ!’ she erupts.

Now I am not a fan of using the name of Jesus in such fashion. I rail against it (along with the flippant and unnecessary use of God’s other names and attributes) quite regularly. And, my co-workers could tell you, I have actually (literally) offered my own name to those who feel like they need to make such name-based-exclamations. But I digress.

The irony of this incident (and I wish I could actually make a movie showing you how it played out) is that I was looking her in the eyes as she said this. As she said it, my own eyes gravitated down toward the ground out of embarrassment. As they did so, for the first time, I caught sight of her t-shirt, which displayed a large picture of a cross underneath the words, “Jesus is Lord.”

Is the Universe Like a Computer Program? Is Everything Data?

Allow me to record two things that happened in my life this week that revolve around the questions posed in the title of this post:

Event 1: I was walking through Barnes and Noble the other day and overheard a couple of college-aged guys talking about the universe. I only heard about 15 seconds of the conversation, but that 15 seconds said quite a lot:

‘The universe is like a computer program, if you think about it,’ said one guy. ‘Everything is kinda programmed to be the way it is.’

They kept walking, and I was left to my own brooding (and a sigh and a facepalm!).

Event 2: I am talking to a college student about his summer Literature class on a regular basis. He tells me he’s using Spark Notes. I detest Spark Notes. I tell him that Spark Notes are not only bad tools for learning, but that they give the wrong impression of literature in general. This leads to a discussion of how technology and our methods of learning inform the way that we look at the world.

‘If technology informs the way we look at the world, then what does the world look like to someone who is constantly on an iPhone?’ I ask. ‘Maybe a picture? Maybe a network? Maybe, at best, a conversation?’ Maybe a gadget?’

‘Now,’ I say, ‘what is the world to someone who is a lover of literature?’ He responds: ‘I don’t know?’ ‘Okay,’ I say, ‘If a computer aficionado sees the world as a computer program, what does a book aficionado see the world as?’

His answer? – ‘Information.’ Information!

‘Wrong,’ I say, ‘Not information – it’s a story. Life is a story! You’ve proven my whole point. I’m trying to tell you that Spark Notes makes you think that books are only means of obtaining information! You think that books are like antique versions of Google! No wonder you don’t like them!’

I haven’t stopped him from using Spark Notes, but I’m trying.

That all leads to this. I read an interesting post on Mars Hill Audio’s blog yesterday pointing to an article by Stephen Talbott on the fallacy of seeing the world in mechanistic terms. He certainly says it better than I can. So let me encourage you to check it out HERE. He really gives a compelling argument against the viewpoint I described in Event 1. The world is not like a computer program.

Inside We’re All the Same

INSIDE WERE ALL THE SAME LADIES TEE

My wife came across this Peeps shirt in a store the other day and told me about it. I actually think it’s true, but I don’t think they were thinking about the same thing I am – the sinful nature.

  • And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Eph. 2:1-3).

We’re Marching to Zion, Just Sayin’

This one goes in the ‘just sayin” department:

Tonight, I was meditating on the biblical teaching of ‘glorification’ and began to think of Isaac Watts’ great line:

‘The men of grace have found
Glory begun below;
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and love may grow.”

I then listened to the hymn, We’re Marching to Zion, and thought about its entirety, which leaves me just sayin’: I don’t know if there is a more beautiful hymn in the history of hymnody, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually sung it in a church service. I’m going to see if I can change that this coming Lord’s Day. Here are the lyrics and a video for your pleasure:

  1. Come, we that love the Lord,
    And let our joys be known;
    Join in a song with sweet accord,
    And thus surround the throne.

    • Refrain:
      We’re marching to Zion,
      Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
      We’re marching upward to Zion,
      The beautiful city of God.
  2. The sorrows of the mind
    Be banished from the place;
    Religion never was designed
    To make our pleasures less.
  3. Let those refuse to sing,
    Who never knew our God;
    But children of the heav’nly King
    May speak their joys abroad.
  4. The men of grace have found
    Glory begun below;
    Celestial fruits on earthly ground
    From faith and hope may grow.
  5. The hill of Zion yields
    A thousand sacred sweets
    Before we reach the heav’nly fields,
    Or walk the golden streets.
  6. Then let our songs abound,
    And every tear be dry;
    We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground
    To fairer worlds on high. (via Timeless Truths)

 

 

Sun Orbit: Where e’er the Sun Doth Its Successive Journeys Run

I frequently ponder the fact that we earth dwellers are moving, according to the experts, at something like 67,000mph in our orbit around the sun. It turns out, the experts say, this is nothing in comparison to the speed at which the sun is rotating around the center of the Milky Way: 475,912mph. Read about it HERE and HERE. Note that I’m not necessarily endorsing everything stated in those links.

I remember years ago hearing someone ridicule Psalm 19 because it portrays the sun as an athlete running a race (v. 5), making its track around the edge of the heavens (v. 6). The speaker claimed that we now know better than to believe such nonsense – the sun doesn’t move, the earth does! Now the scientists tell us that the sun is actually moving seven times faster than the earth, and dragging us along with it as it runs (as portrayed by the image below, which is from HERE).

Sun in orbit around Galactic Centre.gif

Be patient, the science always changes, but Psalm 19, all of Psalm 19, still stands; so does Psalm 72, and Isaac Watts’ paraphrase of it is as applicable as ever:

Jesus shall reign where e’er the sun
doth its successive journeys run;
his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moons shall wax and wane no more.