Friday, December 28, 2012

The Random New Year

Call me a stodge, but I won't stay up to see the new year turn to 2013.

Part of it is, quite frankly, that I just don't have the room to sacrifice the extra sleep. Lately I've been on a pretty hardcore program of exercise -- more on that in a future post, maybe in a few weeks -- and by about 9PM most nights, it's lights out for the soma, if not for the household. I should add that even in prior years, we didn't stay up because the loss of sleep wasn't worth the effort.

What effort, in fact? The cynic in me says: The effort of observing what amounts to the passage of an arbitrarily designated measurement of time; and the shallow entertainments that go with it. Is it worth missing sleep over? No, not really.

Let's face it: Had it been so designed, the "new year" could have started on March 31 at 2 PM, or on June 3 at 10 PM, or on September 16 at 5 AM. We could even change things now so it'd be that way. The New Year is a moveable feast; it's not tied to any event in the past (like Washington's birthday), and the designation of new days starting at midnight is itself an artificiality of our timekeeping system.

In the social world of the Bible, and in many cultures, the main observance of time isn't chronos, but kairos. That means not measurement, but opportunity. You do things when time gives you the chance to do them, not when the clock hits 12. (Imagine that -- turning into a pumpkin because you didn't get X done, rather than because you didn't get X done by Y time.) I think there's a certain wisdom in this method, as it seems so much of our modern stress has to do with those artificialities of measured time.

Of course, in many ways I'm given no choice but to live by the demands of chronos. The Christian Research Journal wouldn't be very happy if I observed a kairos rather than a chronos deadline. But I have found that I can live by kairos instead of chronos in many ways, and can say this much: It's less stress on the mind, body and spirit.

Observe the New Year chronos? No thanks. But we'll observe it by kairos in a way we often do -- with some light snacks, a relaxed evening, and lights out by 10PM at the latest.

See you next year.


Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of the World for Christmas

I'm taking some time off for the next few days, but in celebration of today's Mayan Apocalypse (brought to you by the same firm that brought you Harold Camping), here's a vid I made for one of my YouTube channels.


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Drive By Irrelevancy

For this week’s Forge post we have another example for Adventures in Pointless Exercising by YouTube Fundy Atheists.

Here’s a  comment that was made this week by one such styled “wasup265”:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Wow, how nice of God to deny a gay person heaven for something that wasn't ever a choice in the first place. Also, how nice of him to command the death of those people as well. Isn't it funny that modern society has become more moral and tolerant than your God?

Now here’s a question. Where do you suppose he posted this on my channel?

On my vid on homosexuality? That would be a good guess. Except I don’t have any vids on homosexuality.

Try this one:

It won’t take you long before you scratch your head asking, as I did, “What’s any of that got to do with 1 Cor. 6:9-11, gay people going to heaven, or OT penalties against homosexuality?”

And of course, it has nothing to do with any of that. Historical references to the parting of the Temple curtain at Jesus’ crucifixion has as much relevance to those issues as the mating habits of the snail darter.

That’s something else typical of YT fundy atheists. Not just the vacuous sermonette, but the drive-by irrelevant comment. I’m guessing wasup265 has some sort of personal hobby horse he likes to ride, so he feels the need to vomit forth with irrelevant complaints like this one when he can’t figure out how to respond to the arguments the vid is actually making. Call it a case of hurling the elephant, except all they throw is one hair off of the elephant’s posterior.

It’s not for no reason that I closely moderate comments on TektonTV.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Church's Epic Fail

I saw a news item the other day on Hurricane Sandy victims which brought home a point I made here once before some years back. The interviewee, a man who had a good deal of his property lost and damaged, remarked that the government and other major organizations like Red Cross had done little or nothing for him, or had only done what they did in a manner that was less than timely. It was small groups that had really done the job of helping people in a timely fashion.

Naturally I won't presume to expand a single man's account to a widespread pattern. But it does bring to mind again the point that the government has stepped in to various places precisely because the church hasn't done its job.

Let's consider for a moment how life in America might be different if the church did do (or had done) its job.

We wouldn't have needed Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid -- because Christian organizations would be taking care of the needs those represent.

We wouldn't need unemployment benefits from the government, or food stamps, or even welfare, because churches and Christian groups would provide for the needs those represent.

Since we wouldn't need all of those programs, we wouldn't be facing the so-called "fiscal cliff." We also would have a lot lower taxes -- and there wouldn't be harangues about raising taxes on the rich. Well, not the Christian rich, anyway, because they'd all be something on the order of what is called "reverse tithers."

We wouldn't have big issues over abortion. Some of the chief arguments of the pro-choice coterie -- such as that a woman would not be able to support a child, so it is better off aborted -- would be emasculated. We'd also have a lot more moral authority and credibility on issues like gay marriage, and pornography, and capital punishment.

We'd be without Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, and so many other "prosperity" or feelgood preachers, because we wouldn't be seeing Christianity as a therapeutic tool.

(Hmm. Getting rid of Meyer and Hinn, and all those others? That ought to really motivate us!)

We as Christians wouldn't need private insurance -- not for health, not for property, not for any purpose. We wouldn't fear being bankrupted by a major medical emergency. Why? Because like the early church, our resources would be at the disposal of those in need.

We'd carefully tend our resources, and issues concerning the environment would virtually disappear. I expect we'd all drive a hybrid at the least, and that wind and solar power would have been in much greater use.

If this all sounds too good to be true, well, of course, it assumes a lot. It assumes widespread success in what all too many have failed at, which is following the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. But that's sort of the point, isn't it? The church HAS failed in so many large ways to enact what Jesus taught us; and who can blame everyone else for stepping in to do the job?

In the biography of Ulysses S. Grant I read, it told of how Grant was asked by an aide if some government funds ought to be set aside for some farmers who had been struck by disaster. Grant turned the request down, reasoning that those farmers would get aid from their neighbors.

It's too bad Barack Obama doesn't have the luxury of making such a reply today.