One study by Watkins and colleagues (2016) found that narcissism (extreme selfishness), cynicism (the belief that others are motivated by self-interest), and materialism (valuing material possessions over social and even spiritual possessions) inhibit your sense of gratitude. Like water and oil they do not mix. Can you identify what things are inhibiting you from being grateful?
Awe—three letters that define the feeling of reverence as it intermingles with fear and wonder. In the simplicity of those letters is captured the emotion felt by all who witnessed the eclipse this August. It is difficult not to have been overtaken by the event: Joy and fear mixed into a single voice as the thousands of people around me began to howl and cheer at the sight of a blackened sun. A decidedly secular event marked by the smell of food and gasoline quickly transformed into a sacred and spiritual experience for everyone in attendance. CONTINUE READING…
There is beauty in words. A sentence well written—a phrase that captures a thought and holds it for a moment—these are the moments for which readers search. But the nature of a sentence is a strange thing. Words by themselves are not bound by any ethics; they are empty vessels in which nothing but a single unit of information is contained. Claiming that the words “fruit” and “tree” are true or false is meaningless. However, the moment words are grouped together into a sentence, they gain a truth value. That is to say, a sentence has the emergent property of “truthfulness” not found in the individual nouns and verbs that compose it. Take, for example, the sentence “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.” It makes a claim about the state of both the fruit and the tree, which can be verified by reality. CONTINUE READING…
Every story must begin somewhere. And this one begins on the seaside. Nature loves to hold on to mysteries, as if to disclose them meant she’ll lose a part of herself. For a long time, it was a mystery how turtle hatchlings found the sea. Perhaps the gentle sound of waves was calling out to them, saying “come, this is the way home.” But there is a stronger explanation. Not the call of the sea, but light from the moon glistening upon the horizon (Rivas, Tomillo, Uribeondo, & Marco, 2015). These turtles follow the moonlight as it reflects over the ocean. They keep their eyes on its glow, as they make their way towards the freedom that the ocean brings. CONTINUE READING…
Reference- (Rivas, et al., 2015)
Awe—three letters that define the feeling of reverence as it intermingles with fear and wonder. In the simplicity of those three letters is captured the complex feeling experienced by all those who saw this eclipse. I never knew how close the sun looked before today. As near and big as the moon on a clear night. As palpable as a low hanging fruit, just barely out of reach.
An ominous sound began to overtake the atmosphere, like the sound of rushing water, as the thousands of people around me began to cheer and wail in awe and excitement. Joy and fear mixed into a single voice which made the hairs on your neck stand as it spoke. A secular event marked by the smell BBQ and gasoline, quickly became a spiritual and sacred experience for everyone.
It is difficult not to be overtaken and pulled by the event. Its as if our brains are prone to spirituality. In the face of overwhelming grandeur and mystery our psychology inclines towards worship and reverence.
How interesting that scripture tells us not to be pulled in by it, as if knowing the weakness of our minds in the presence of natural majesty:
“Beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:10, ESV).
Can we teach animals to speak? Indeed, from bees to primates, animals have sophisticated methods of communicating (von Frisch, 1973). But can we teach them OUR language? All attempts have mostly failed whether that language be spoken, signed, or makes use of lexigrams. Animals seem only able to communicate in the present tense, oblivious of anything outside the here-and-now. They are further constrained to a limited number of topics. Memorizing words to get rewards rather than to express new thoughts. If communication is ever possible, it must be in their terms not ours (Kako, 1997).
How then shall God communicate with man? For as high as the Heavens are above the earth, so are His thoughts above our thoughts. How shall He describe a world which our eyes have never seen, our ears never heard, nor entered into our imagination? Sometimes the best way to reach a group of people, is to send others who belong to that group of people; and the best way to teach them what they cannot understand, is to compare it to the things they can. For this reason we cannot take the humanity out of the Bible, nor would we want to. To reach people through people, through prophets and apostles, teachers and evangelists. This is God’s method. To speak the words of God through the words of men.
Consider Washoe, a chimp raised as a child in an attempt to teach her sign language. Yet as difficult as it was to teach her a handful of words, it was her adopted son, Loulis, who better learned and acquired the sign language by learning it from Washoe. Being taught by his own kind, by his own mother, he began to learn and acquire our language (Fouts, 1989).
Similarly, Christ not only stands as the Mediator between God and man, but as the Translator. We can only understand God through Him. The intangible divinity made manifest in the tangible humanity. In the simplicity of Earthly metaphors, Christ makes known Heavenly truths. He explains how the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, a net cast into the ocean, or a pearl of great price. He communicates to us by our terms and limits; and we learn and acquire the language of God through the humanity of Christ, our own kind. (John 1:14, NKJV).
Where there is water there is life. Our own planet has about 70% of its surface covered by oceans, rivers, lakes and ponds (Pearlman, 2016). Even our bodies are made of about 60% water, distributed throughout the various tissues and vessels of our anatomy (Helmenstine, 2017). To say we don’t need water is to inevitably suggest we don’t need 3/5 of our body. Water has many important functions in our bodies, from temperature regulation to waste transport. Even our brains need to reflect this percentage, for proper functioning. Losing even a small amount of that percentage, as begins to occur in dehydration, will have grave physiological and medical implications.
God has ordained our need and dependence on water, and has used it to symbolize His Salvation. We’ve drifted along this saltwater sea of sin and hate, from which we drink only to thirst the more intensely. But He offers us fresh and living water, which our souls have been deprived of. Even baptism speaks eloquently on behalf of God’s grace. He could have required long pilgrimage on our knees, or to climb the tallest mountains, as a symbol of our Salvation. But rather, He says only be baptized. With a world covered in about 70% water, and most living people making their home no more than a few miles from a body of water, it is clear that God intended to save the entire world.
Where there is water, there is life. So let the one who is thirsty come (Rev 22:17).