Monday, March 28, 2016

Now Lay Me Down to Sleep


When I look back to 2010, the year I started this blog, it seems like such a lifetime ago. Just over 5 years ago, and yet so many miles on the odometer.

I remember when I began writing here I had just suffered crippling tendonitis which had killed my aspirations as a serious guitarist and left me wondering where I would find an outlet for all that was in my head and on my heart. Writing was that outlet and on this blog I searched for my voice and style, shared the adventures I was on, processed the thoughts that came to me, and once my wife left and my friend died I worked through a lot of that here.

It's been wonderful to have shared so much of my life and thoughts here. The pictures I put up, the music I was into and the funny things and the sad things I experienced and shared. It's interesting to look back and see how much I as a person have changed since the early posts I've put up here. Some posts are really embarrassing to me now, and yet I need to leave them up for posterity. Some I think are really good and I can't believe that I actually came up with them.

Strangely, I feel like I don't have anything more to say on this platform. Since coming through my own dark night of the soul I don't feel the urge to write in the way that I used to. I still journal, but there isn't anything in me that requires Stone to go through anymore and the last 6 months or so I've only put up posts out of the obligation to put them up, and not because I had something to get out.

This blog doesn't seem to be the social sharing platform that FaceBook is, nor have I narrowed my focus to some key themes like other blogs seem to have done. It's just been a free-for-all that's chronicled the pivotal moment of my life between ages 26 and 32.

So, I'm officially going to lay Stone in the River to sleep. Not kill it or delete it, but just let it rest without the expectation that more will come. I think if I ever decide to blog again it will be on another platform and with a specific focus. Perhaps more posts will come here. I don't know.

Take care!

Monday, February 22, 2016

But I Gotta Have Faith


In my studies on religions and non-religious worldviews I hear a lot about faith. People use it in so many different ways, but one way that really seems to have taken hold is its use by non-believers to mean "belief without reason." This builds a wall between people and religion, because they perceive that in order to come to faith they must abandon their reason and what makes sense not only to them, but to the rest of the world as well.

This is hard for me to understand though. Not that they don't want to surrender reason for a belief in a particular religion, but that they would cling to this silly definition of faith. Yes, the definition they use is in the dictionary, but it's only one definition, and some of the others are actually specifically related to religion!

Some definitions are as follows:

   1) Christian Theology. The trust in God and His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

   2) A confidence in a person or thing.

   3) Faith is a response, directed toward an object and defined by what is believed.

Not one of these examples gives the impression that one must sacrifice sense and reason in order to believe in God. On the contrary, God provides us with plenty of reasons to acknowledge His existence, and for the Christian there are ample reasons to believe that our faith is both reasonable and justified.*

As functioning, sentient human beings we have numerous examples in our day-to-day lives of faith with reason. We have faith that our car will start in morning (or won't, but we have reasons for believing either); we have faith in our friends and family; we have faith in our own reasoning. All of these things are beliefs that come to us through reason, yet we can rightly call them faith. A confidence in a person or thing. A confidence that comes not through rejecting the logical, but by embracing it.

There are reasons for the hope that lies within us as believers, and if one will pursue them and really weigh the balance of evidence, and pursue the evidence where it leads, then that person will discover that the faith of the believer is far from an irrational rejection of logic, but founded upon reason and truth itself.

It is important to acknowledge those religious persons who reject evidentially supported truths of our time, but again, pursue the evidence and you will see that those rejections are instances where those people are refusing truth, not embracing it. They are committing errors of believing and rejecting what they like or dislike, and not what is true or false.

Listen to Socrates: "Follow the argument wherever it leads."

Take care!

*For arguments for theism search for the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the Teleological Argument, the Moral Argument, The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, and the Ontological Argument. Additionally, Stephen Meyer had written extensively upon the subject of Intelligent Design in his books, Darwin's Dilemma and Signature in the Cell. There are also numerous works on the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth written by William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Lee Strobel and Paul Copan.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Eternal Now


Last week I began listening to a podcast of a lecture on cosmology. In it, the lecturer was talking about the different theories of the beginning of the universe and things like Planck Time and a Grand Unified Theory, and also a lot about Stephen Hawking and the new movie about him called "The Theory of Everything."

If any of you have followed this blog for a while you know that I have a keen interest in theology and apologetics, which leads to studies in science, history, philosophy and other social sciences. All of this is incredibly fascinating to me, especially when you view it from the theistic frame.

One thing this lecture started me thinking about was time. Years ago a friend of mine asked me what time was, and I had to stop and ponder that question for a while. Some people think it's a real thing, and some people think it's merely a useful fiction that we use. If it's real, what is it? What are it's properties? How can it have begun, but be eternal into the future? Did it begin? Is it eternal? St. Augustine said something like, "I know what time is, until you ask me what it is." Smart feller.

What has been floating around my head lately is the concept of God existing before time. Even that phrase is seemingly fallacious. How could something be before time, since that would indicate a prior time? A time before time? So in that sense, it would be more accurate to say God existed without time, not prior to it. But what would a timeless existence be like?

Now, I realize that I'm making a lot of assumptions here about the nature of time (i.e. "A" or "B" Theory), but there's not a lot of space to cover everything, so let's keep the train going.

I think a timeless existence must be something like an eternal now. A constant and never changing "this moment." Maybe the closest thing we could relate it to would be when you are having a wonderful experience and you realize that you've lost track of time and hours have gone by. Only this time, no hours have gone by because there are no hours and no change, just the now.

It makes me wonder if that's what eternity is going to be like. I hear people express fears that they will be bored after ten million years in the renewed creation. Well, apart from slapping my forehead and asking how someone could ever get bored in the presence of the Almighty God, what if there is no ten million years? What if all eternity is just one of those moments you hope never ends, only, it never does? An eternal now of joy in the presence of God with no thoughts for the "time" in which you lived your short existence in the fallen state. Could it be like that? I have no idea.

Take Care!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Dusty Paul


My Les Paul guitar sits in the closet now. Probably not more than it did when I lived in Bellingham, but it feels like it. Since I moved I haven't picked up any new people to play music with. There is an ukulele group in town here I'm going to infiltrate at some point, but I have doubts about whether I'll play at guitar church again. A big reason for that is just that I had such a good band, and I don't think I'd like playing with anything less.

It's okay. I think it's tragic in some ways when we try to hold on to the status quo for too long. It slips away from us no matter what and if we spend all or time regretting the end of the "better days" we will miss the good happening around us now.

Our lives are divided into chapters, and you can't read the book without closing chapters and opening new ones. It's a good thing to remember fondly the chapters we've read, but we must also look forward to the ones we haven't read yet. When I was leaving Bellingham I kept telling my friends that it's good to have things to miss, because you have things that are worth missing. If we didn't have anything worth missing we weren't living our lives well at all.

Many of the most wonderful things I've experienced in life and the best memories I've had came out of the ashes, or at the loss of other things. Just one small example is the tendonitis that caused me to quit playing guitar with all of my free time forcing me to look for a new outlet which led to this blog and all the other things I've written in the years since then. And I never would have picked up the uke, played in a group, or taken up origami or chess.

But the future can be scary. I think that many of us stick with things we dislike or may even hurt us merely because we're more afraid of the unknown. Some people stay at awful jobs where they aren't paid or treated very well because they're afraid of looking for work or arranging for health care or changing careers or cities. That's their choice though.

My own future is really uncertain now. I've left my home, job, friends, church and city and I don't have anything concrete that I'm going towards. Just vague hopes and ideas. It was odd knowing for certain that it was time to go without knowing exactly the where-to. This is another reason why I'm grateful to be a Christian. Because I do know for certain that wherever I go I will never be alone and nothing that happens is outside of the control of One who loves me and can actually do something about it.

Take Care!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Command Center


Continuing on with my "Memories of Bellingham" collection, I'd like to post a pic of my two friends, with whom I worked and shared life for almost 10 years. We started together as some dumb kids and finished as merely older kids, but with more life experience. I'll miss these guys. They were great community. We had a joke band called Command Center that never actually played together in any form, although separately I played a lot of music with these guys.

Take care!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Meeting the Master


Last Saturday my friends and I had the privilege of going to see ukulele phenom Jake Shimabukuro play in Bellingham. It was really great to be able to connect again with my ukulele-playing gal pals and then together go see one of the best players around today.
   All three of us were inspired to play uke by my friend Kevin, who passed away two years ago, and Kevin loved Jake so it was great to remember him through some good music and good friendship.

After a great show, we stood in line for a little while and were able to meet Jake and get some autographs and tell him about why we were there and how Kevin inspired us to play the uke and how Jake made us think of him when we played. Then we had some hugs and left.

Here are some pictures from that night:

Take Care!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Dreamt House


Last night I had a dream I was at a large mansion on a beach by the ocean. I was touring it for some reason that I can't remember, but I apparently knew the owner.
   As we walked from room to room I was a little judgmental over how messy it was. There were books, papers and clothes all over the place. The walls were covered with dozens of pictures of friends and fond memories, but it looked cluttered. I remember looking at an old roll-top desk and seeing it with a stack of books on it and some wear from use.
   After being shown all the floors and all 9 bathrooms my dreamed segued into something else. Actually, it was a conversation between me, my ex-wife and her childhood friend, but I can't remember anything about what we were talking about. Just that my wife got mad and left (ouch!).

When I woke up I laid in bed thinking about the dream for a few minutes. I thought that the house was pretty cool and I wondered about the rest of the dreams. Then the thought occurred to me that the house I had toured wasn't real. That may sound like an incredibly obvious statement, but think about it: this 9-bathroom, 8-bedroom mansion on a beach with all of its pictures and books and mess, it's layout and design, it's owner, it's smell--all of it was created by my own mind.
   I like to be organized and I like to think about what I can do to decorate a place I'm living in, but it was an interesting thought to me that my dream-mind created all of that house by the beach to the smallest detail. When I looked at the stack of books on the roll-top desk, it was my mind that created the desk and the specific wear marks on it, the colors and sequence of books on it. My dream-mind created the pictures on the wall and decided how many to put there and what they would show. Why family and friends and not just tons of guitar pictures, which is what my conscious mind would think to put in an imaginary house.

Where did all of this come from? How much power do our minds actually have to create things like this from scratch while we sleep? Are artists and architects and musicians and visionaries gifted with superior minds, or do they just have access to more of what most of us already have?  I don't have the mind of a savant, but even I created a fully occupied mansion down to the smallest detail while I was asleep. It's an interesting line of thinking, for sure.

Take Care!