Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Afternoon in March

The wind is flecked with coming rain
and unexpectedly I miss the sea.
It roars through the trees
and I wish I could round the bend
and instead of woods the sea
would meet me,
salt spray borne across the crests
to greet me
ambivalent of my presence
yet welcoming all the same.

Oh that the end-of-winter-dust
blown in my eyes was instead
sand from a quiet sliver of beach
bounding the tossing, spraying, sea
in an effortless curve echoing
the smooth horizon
and the wings of the gulls
as they rise on the wind.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

the interaction of science and theology

I am having a lovely weekend away visiting a friend, so today I will simply post a few favourite/interesting quotations from a book I am reading: One World - the interaction of science and theology by John Polkinghorne.

Science and theology have this in common, that each can be, and should be, defended as being investigations of what is, the search for increasing verisimilitude in our understanding of reality. (p.42)

Physicists labouriously master mathematical techniques because experience has shown that they provide the best, indeed the only, way to understand the physical world. We choose that language because it is the one thing that is being "spoken" to us by the cosmos. (p.46)

The one God who is well and truly dead is the God of the Gaps. [...] AS the theoretical chemist and devout Christian, Charles Coulson, briskly said, 'when we come to the scientifically unknown, our correct policy is not to rejoice because we have found God; it is to become better scientists.' The demise of the God of the Gaps should not be lamented, least of all by theologians. If God is God he is to be found everywhere, not just in the murkier corners of the world he has made.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ultimate Beauty

"You are beautiful beyond description, to marvelous for words" go the words of an old worship song. Yet even if the author of this song felt he could not express God's beauty in words, surely he had some conception of it. This brings me to a question I've pondered for a few years: how do we begin to understand God's beauty to the point where we can honestly love and worship him as beautiful? Put another way: how can we know the part of God's nature which is his beauty?

I have found several answers to this question. First, we can start to understand God's beauty by rejoicing in what he sees as beautiful. God made the world and saw that it was good. All of creation constantly proclaims a god who is not only beautiful, but delights in creating things which are beautiful. Thus the beauty we see in the natural world and in people around us can serve to teach us about God.

Secondly, we can observe and try to understand what we find as beautiful. This is helpful because, since we were made in his image, surely our understanding of beauty must bear some similarities to his. It is helpful to think of him as the perfection of all things beautiful.

Finally, I think we must clarify and enlarge our definition of beauty. Beauty is not something that is only understood with our physical senses - such as a work of art or a piece of music. A physicist will tell you that the elegance of a theory can be beautiful. Wisdom lends beauty to the old. There can be beauty in someone's actions or words. So it is, I think, with God. It is not just his physical manifestations on earth - not even primarily that- but so much of his character which makes him beautiful.

I still do not feel capable of understanding enough of God's beauty to truly express it (in fact words will alone will never be adequate!), but I can testify that it is possible to grow in the knowledge and love of God's infinite beauty.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

blogging about blogging

Blogs (or web logs, originally). I just did a little research on blogs (Wikepedia being my trusty (?) friend as usual). Here are a couple things I learned which I found interesting:
  • Blogging seems to have started in 1994, and taken off in 1999, making it a pretty new phenomenon.
  • The number of blogs is now well into the tens of millions or more
  • The "blogosphere" is the collective community of all blogs
So why blog? My primary reasons are as follows:
  • I want pause and reflect on something and take the time to organize my thoughts
  • I want to talk to my friends and others about things that matter to me (and hopefully them!), even when these people are far away
  • I want to encourage people to think and grow
Yet sometimes I struggle with the feeling that a blog is just a way to air my opinions. The number of times I use "I" glares out at me like a warning light. Perhaps I should to write a post without using "I" at all. How does humility fit in with all of this? Would Jesus write a blog if he were living in my situation?

These are just a few thoughts and questions I have. I would love to hear yours. Why do you write blogs? More importantly, why do you read them?

p.s. Some of you might enjoy this video. Watch it if you feel you have the time. It didn't so much teach me new things as make me think about them a bit differently.