Wednesday, May 30, 2007

REFLECTIONS ON the SCIENCE OF PENTECOST


Acts 2:1-4
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. "

"Suppose we discovered that God 'lived' in a particular part of the brain, and that religion was a biological function which had evolved to help us through difficult times. It's not impossible." Nancy Rothwell, neuroscientist at Manchester University.

In our so called modern age, societal sensibilities tend to look upon what appear to be "supernatural" events in the Bible as a parent might look to a child describing their imaginary friends. Nowadays there is a push to view these writings as metaphor rather than literal event. I find this a limiting exercise. Rather like trying to shrink God and the Universe to fit into a palatable definition that will suit our finite human comprehension.

I much prefer to try to compare what modern science has unraveled lately and see if it fits with what scripture literally describes as event. Just for grins.

To that end I have come to a theory that, for me, fits both. Current discoveries in brain scanning have literally mapped areas in people of faith that do not exist in those without faith. That's a really simplistic way of putting it, but this is a blog and I want to be as concise as I can. This discovery has caused atheists to celebrate this as "proof" religion is merely a dysfunction of the brain, as it's discovery came from mapping epileptics. I see it as the opposite.

20/20 did a recent piece on Faith In the Brain

Could it be that inherent in every human being is a latency in the brain that becomes expressed when we accept God. And becomes even further expressed when we accept Jesus as our savior? That each of us has this possibility that will never bloom until there is such acceptance and surrender. I can see this happening at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was introduced. The "rush of the violent wind" entering into each person and flipping the latent dna switch that then was further expressed as each gift.

Physicist David Gross wrote: "The secret of nature is symmetry, but much of the texture of the world is due to mechanisms of symmetry breaking."

K.C. Cole, L.A. Times Science Columnist, took this further in "The Universe and the Teacup", "Life's innate asymmetry leads to a startling speculation about the origin of life. If life had coiled into existence at many locations at once, then one would expect those early molecules to spiral to the left and right in equal numbers--just as the silicon and oxygen atoms in quartz crystals spiral both ways. But if life originated in a single rare event, then a single molecule would have passed down its right-handed twist as a legacy to all living things to come."

DNA and proteins spiral in only one direction. To the right. Not at all symmetrical.

We learn more and more about our biology all the time. The recent discoveries, for me, confirm what was written in scripture back then in the only terms they had for description. That nature is symmetrical, yet we are not, appearing as a result of some intervention I find fascinating. And now the evidence of brain mapping in people of faith and people without faith, I believe, is just providing further evidence of what the apostles knew on faith alone.

It's fascinating for sure. But it's also sad that we need more convincing than our predecessors.

Friday, May 25, 2007

FRIDAY FIVE: HARD HABIT TO BREAK

Today, Reverend Mother writes:
"As many of you know, I have been experimenting with some severely curtailed Internet usage. I realized that I had gotten into some bad habits, which got me thinking about habits in general. I understand that a habits/random facts meme has already been going around. In the hopes that it hasn't hit too many of us yet, be as lighthearted or as serious as you'd like with the following:"

1. Have you ever successfully quit a bad habit, or gotten a good habit established? Tell us about how you did it.

I used to smoke. That's right. You heard me. Cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes. Virginia Slims. I started when I was twelve. My mother smoked. Like a chimney. My dad sailed on hazes of cigar and pipe smoke. Our house was so thick with it that we didn't have to cook our steaks. Just hang 'em up in the living room. When I turned 40 I started to think that maybe this smoking thing wasn't so good for me. So I cut back from a pack a day to a pack a week. Thought I was pretty nifty.

Then, at 45 I got pregnant. Even though I was a smoker I was militant about not smoking around children. Ever. That's where the habit starts. So I quit. Cold turkey. And have not smoked since. And I surely breathe better now, yes I do.


2. "If only there were a 12-step program for _________________!"

Grumpiness. It hits at the worst possible time. It creates an appetite for biting heads off. And it's not always hormones. Though at my age I get to blame everything on that. Even though I know better. Sometimes that's all that stands between me and jail.


3. Share one of your healthy "obsessions" with us.

I HAVE to exercise. My doctor says every day. That is currently impossible. Though I'm at three times a week now. So I obsess every day over my calendar looking for when I can fit in a yoga class, a resistance workout and my new Wednesday dance class? Takes precedence over everything. And I mean everything. If I needed brain surgery it would have to wait.


4. Share the habit of a spouse, friend or loved one that drives you C-R-A-Z-Y.

Only one? So unfair. I'll just give one really really hair pulling annoying one: My husband and the dishes: Since I started working, he is no longer the only one bringing money into the house. That used to be his unexpressed reasoning for never lifting a finger to do anything at all whatsoever to help with anything outside of putting salt in the water softener and once a month pulling some weeds off the hill (because he likes those chores). But now, I'm working and his not helping with any household chores is getting older than my grandma's toes. Here's how he will help with the dishes: The sink will be FULL of dirty dishes. The drying rack will overflow with clean dishes to be put away. He helps by pulling one dish out of the dishwasher. Washes it in cold water and puts it on the crowded rack to dry. Leaving the sink full and the rack overflowing. ARRRRRRRGGGGHHH


5. "I'd love to get into the habit of ___________________."

Sewing. Back to sewing. I haven't had time and my machine died last year. I love to quilt too. I so would love to get back to that. As a habit.


Bonus: What is one small action you might take immediately to make #5 a reality?

Eating better. I could start today. If only the world would cease making glazed buttermilk donuts.


Bonus 2: Try it, and let us know how it goes in a future post!

........I'll try. Trying to remember will be another good habit to start today.

CORRECTION ON #5 BONUS: I just get up too early in the morning and do this when my brain is NOT yet fully in gear. What I would do to make #5 a reality is to buy a new sewing machine of course!! Duh. Please excuse my ghastly faux pas!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

MORE OXYMORONICA


Why is it called a "fat farm" when that's the last thing you want to grow? (P.S. I'm the one in the middle so everyone can follow)


After my mom's surgery on her neck I asked if she had any feeling coming back in her hands. She said she was experiencing a "numb sensation". ???????


Who exactly stops shooting in a "partial cease fire"?


and freezer burn. Can they just make up their minds? Is it frozen or burned? Either way there will be no chicken for dinner.


Then there's the one that I have never understood and never will: "can we agree to disagree?". Sure. And I will still say that you're as dumb as a post. Does this mean that this way one can still admire the other's color sense and save face?

Then again, all the above are just my unbiased opinions seeking to leave you pleasantly confused while I excuse myself to go now and sleep vigorously and have some awfully good dreams.

We are an odd species.

Friday, May 18, 2007

FRIDAY FIVE -THE BIG EVENT


Songbird writes:

Did you know that the major purpose for forming a non-profit, RevGalBlogPals, Inc., was to be able to attract grant support for a large scale RevGalBlogPal meetup? My dream from the beginning has been attracting financial support that would allow as many of our bloggers to be together as possible.

RGBP, Inc. now has a planning committee, and we are in the early stages of planning the RevGalBlogPal Big Event. What, When, Where and Who are all on the table at the moment. In that spirit, I bring you the Big Event Friday Five.

1. What would the meeting be like? (Continuing Ed? Retreat? Outside Speakers? Interest Groups? Workshops? Hot Stone Massages? Pedicures? Glorified Slumber Party?)

A Glorified Slumber Party Retreat with One Outside Speaker and then Speakers from Our Gang, with Interesting Groups of Hot Stone Massages followed by Pedicure Refreshers so we can all get to know each other.

2. When in 2008 might you be able to attend? January? Shortly after Easter? Summer? Fall? Some other time?

January works best for me.

3. Where would your dream meeting location be? (Urban Hotel? Rural Retreat Center? New England Camp? Southwestern Fantasy Hotel? Far away from civilization? Nearby Outlets or Really Great Thrift Stores?)

Hawaii. If not Hawaii, then close by me, here in sunny California.

4. Who would make a great keynote speaker? (That's if #1 leads us in that direction.)

Anne Lamott.

5. Did I leave out something you want to suggest?

There must be dramas!! Of course. I will write a couple pithy, provocative and pertinent dramas for us, starring our own members!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

FRIDAY FIVE: You Say Po-tay-to and I Say Po-tah-to


Reverend Mother writes:

There are two types of people in the world, morning people and night owls. Or Red Sox fans and Yankees fans. Or boxers and briefs. Or people who divide the world into two types of people and those who don't. Let your preferences be known here. And if you're feeling verbose, defend your choices!

1. Mac? (woo-hoo!) or PC? (boo!)
Why yes, the Friday Five author reserves the right to editorialize!

Mac. Unless of course you enjoy that regular trip to the tech shop to have the viruses removed, the files restored and the disk space compacted. (If it's a good looking tech, I can understand).

2. Pizza: Chicago style luscious hearty goodness, or New York floppy and flaccid?

Deep dish, thick crust Chicago style that no one in California knows how to make any more. Chicago is my second preferred place to live after Texas. And I'm currently stuck in California. And what is up with Canadian bacon and pineapple on a pizza??? That is just so wrong.

3. Brownies/fudge containing nuts:
a) Good. I like the variation in texture.
b) An abomination unto the Lord. The nuts take up valuable chocolate space.
[or a response of your choosing]

Ah, a chocolate question.......
a) Most definitely. Walnuts or pecans, either. And if you want to be really, really wicked, toast and sugar them before putting them in the batter.

AND

b) Yes, I'll eat these too. After all, there's chocolate in them. I have never met the chocolate dessert that I did not like.


4. Do you hang your toilet paper so that the "tail" hangs flush with the wall, or over the top of the roll like normal people do?

What's this 'like normal people do' business, now, hmmmm? When the tail hangs over the front, it often sticks and I have to use my hands all over the roll to get my obligatory Sheryl Crow one square off. Then it's ripped up and mangled and I have to use my just soiled hands to get more. When the tail is in the back, as God intended and as He has in His powder room, then you can get what you need in one grab, thus maintaining the hygenic integrity of the entire roll.


5. Toothpaste: Do you squeeze the tube wantonly in the middle, or squeeze from the bottom and flatten as you go just like the tube instructs?

From the bottom and flatten. I suspect cameras in my bathroom and fear the toothpaste waste police.

Bonus: Share your favorite either/or.

Well now, so many to choose from:

Either eat all your vegetables and fruit or no dessert! (that's for Wonderboy from the time he was one)
Either pick up your room or shut your door (that's for Wonderboy's father)
Either use a tissue or hose it off (not givin' details here)

UPDATE: After reading some pithy and intelligent commenters, I realized that I blew the Either/Or bonus question. Here's some with correct syntax:

Tennis shoes or sneakers?
Cash or credit?
Wax or tweeze?


(and.....not related to the Friday Five.....if you're interested......I started another story. The first installment is here

Monday, May 07, 2007

MY CHURCH



Here's an aerial picture of my church, with the desired new buildings digitally added in. The first two buildings from the street in are almost finished. The whole building campaign is $24 million. Not going to go into the details of the trials and tribulations. You can well imagine them, I'm sure.

Though I wasn't at church yesterday, I heard today that our head pastor started his sermon with a statement about feeling 'overwhelmed'. Well, golly, I don't blame him.

I write this today to ask you all to add a prayer to the one I've been praying every day for over a year now. That God's will be done for this church and my pastor.

Thanks.

Friday, May 04, 2007

FRIDAY FIVE - IT'S MY PARTY





It's Songbird's birthday, and we're helping her celebrate with this week's Friday Five:

1) Would you rather be the host or the guest?
Either works for me. I love to throw the parties, I love to go to the parties. I was born with excessive party DNA.

2) When you are hosting, do you clean everything up the minute the guests go home? Will you accept help with the dishes?
Everything's washed or my head will not rest on the pillow. And helping is part of the end of the party. I save the best party favors for whoever helps.

3) If you had the wherewithal, and I guess I mean more than money, to throw a great theme party, what would the theme be?
So hard to pick one, that I can't. I'd do holiday theme parties (everybody dress as Santa for e.g.), throw birthday parties for dead philosophers, Dress as your favorite ballerina parties, pot luck lasagna parties, and I just LOVE white elephant parties.

4) What's the worst time you ever had at a party?
Not being invited.

5) And to end on a brighter note, what was the best?
Every party has a spectacular moment of fun for me. I am a party monster. I just wish I could have more at my house these days.