Big and little things

I can see why astrophysicist enjoy their career. All things considered this video I saw this morning is probably pretty measly considering all the amazing aspects of the cosmos, but I still found myself caught in wonder. My math is pretty miserable but can you imagine the gravitational force of something a billion times bigger than our sun. I remember this computer animated exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago that allowed you to try and set just our 9 planets in orbit around our Sun. You needed to set correct orbital shape, distance, speed and maybe a couple other variables. It was impossible. If you were even a tiny bit off, the planet gets sucked right into the sun or drifts away, both scenerios are not so good for sustaining life. Which then took my mind back to some statistics about the probability of our universe existing. I mean literally existing. Taking the physical variables into account, what is the likelihood of a universe which sustains life coming into existence by coincidence? One in billions of billions? Or trillions of trillions of trillions? Or more?

Roger Penrose, a famous British mathematician and a close friend of Stephen Hawking, wondered about this question and tried to calculate the probability. Including what he considered to be all variables required for human beings to exist and live on a planet such as ours, he computed the probability of this environment occurring among all the possible results of the Big Bang.

According to Penrose, the odds against such an occurrence were on the order of 1010123 to 1.

It is hard even to imagine what this number means. In math, the value 10123 means 1 followed by 123 zeros. (This is, by the way, more than the total number of atoms 1078 believed to exist in the whole universe.) But Penrose’s answer is vastly more than this: It requires 1 followed by 10123 zeros.

Roger Penrose: ” This number tells us how precise the Creators’s aim must have been.” Or consider: 13 means 1,000, a thousand. 10103 is a number that has 1 followed by 1000 zeros. There is not even a name for a number that has 1 followed by 10123 zeros. In practical terms, in mathematics, a probability of 1 in 1050 means “zero probability”. Penrose’s number is more than trillion trillion trillion times less than that. In short, Penrose’s number tells us that the “accidental” or “coincidental” creation of our universe is an impossibility.

Thats how amazing our God is. He created the cosmos, in all it splendor, unlikeliness. With a word from his mouth it was there.

5 minutes later I’m rocking my little baby to sleep. And I’m sitting there staring at his adorable little face. He’s so tiny, and those cheeks are perfect. And again, my mind wanders to the fact that the same God who created the cosmos has knit together and cares for and loves this tiny little thing in my hands. Not only do we believe he loves this little ball of cute, but that he and we are the center, focal point, purpose for the creation of it all. Not the object that is 500 billion times bigger than our sun, but the fragile little 12lb cutie in my lap.

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Boasting in Works

A while ago I was feeling a bit restless and started an emotional tirade against the current material we were covering in our small group bible study. The material was fine and dandy but in my opinion seemed to be a regurgitation of what we had just covered the previous year.  Great material, but not enough time and energy spent in application and letting it sink in. Sometimes we are probably guilty of assuming that biblical principles can be a real part of our life as easy as downloading an App on your iPhone. So I was worried that the same thing was taking place with this next study and there would be no true growth. The particular conversation that got me frustrated was over the idea of doing something extraordinary for God. The idea was presented that having a good marriage was extraordinary. Another idea, which seems to be trendy and was popularized by Chuck Colson and seems to be a driving force behind Q, is the cultural mandate. This is a big idea, but kinda says that Genesis 1:28 commands us to have authority over all of creation, and this has developed into why christians should engage in and excel in all aspects of creation (politics, scientific pursuits, literature, etc). The way it applies here is that no longer is our job separate from the rest of our lives, but it is part of our calling. We are supposed to excel at work. This was presented as another option for being “extraordinary”. There were a ton of side conversations like, should we be judging “extraordinary” by todays cultural standards or what. But I basically took the view that although a solid marriage is undoubtably very important and worth significant effort, and that “renewing” some aspect of culture through your vocation are worthy pursuits, somehow I just didn’t think that would be sufficient when sitting before God. Anyway, somehow I found myself around the campfire in the midst of an ad-lib tirade about how I want to be overjoyed, and ecstatic, when I die because of this this huge posse of believers behind me that I somehow played a role in bringing into the Christian flock. I felt like everything that was being presented were in no way extraordinary, but actually more represented standard assumptions about the way Christians should live their life. I wanted something truly extraordinary. So the part that got everyones feathers ruffled was when I said I wanted to present these people to God as somehow a reflection of my works for him. And of course being a solid calvinistic group they were appalled that I wanted to claim some type of credit for playing a role in these followers lives, and that i would boast about it before God made it even worse. So when I came across this verse today I was reminded of that night by the fire.

I Thessalonians 2:

19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

Those are some strong words and i love it. Hope, Joy, Crown, Glory, Joy. All of these emotions welled up within Paul as he ponders sitting in front of Jesus and what will give him Joy. The Thessalonian believers in my opinion were the extraordinary works that Paul was going to be thrilled to present to God. I really like this. It’s not boasting in works, but kinda. It’s similar to finding that perfect gift for a loved one, that gift that you know he or she is going to absolutely LOVE. And your not happy because you found it or did something to get it. Your thrilled because you know how its going to make that person feel. That was spirit I was trying to convey and I want to be the driving thought behind my extraordinary deeds. So i guess in closing, go ahead, boast in your works, even though those are dangerous words in the protestant circles.

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Salt Lake City goodness

My antsyness got the best of me today so I had to go out for a hike. We’ve been in SLC for about a month now and I have not had the chance to head up into the mountains. So as soon as we got back from church, I jumped in the car and headed for Big Cottonwood Canyon. 20 minutes later (seriously, 20 minutes!!!!) I was at the Twin Peak Trail head. A little over an hour later I am here,

And here is the cool part about salt lake. 1hr from this pic, I am back home watching the Packer game. 

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Growth Spurts and the 5 S’s

All the books say that little fussy babies will be less fussy by 6 weeks (usually).  When 6 weeks hit this past Monday, Logan became more fussy then ever before.  I kept thinking…  Did he just develop colic, is that possible this late?  Is he having stomach/gas issues??  Is he sick?  I even took his temperature one day.  He was waking every 1 or 2 hours at night and during the day he was crying every waking moment.  I was exhausted and by 6am I was so tired all I could do was give him to Daddy and sit back with a tear in my eye.  When he would feed, he would swallow so fast he would choke himself.  He’d swallow so much air that he would end up burping up all the milk he just ate.  Then he was both hungry and upset.

He decided back at 2 weeks that he didn’t like to be swaddled anymore.  He wanted his arms to be free! Well that all went out the door on Monday.  The 5 S’s were in full swing in order to survive this.  We would sit for an hour sometimes in the rocker just trying to calm him.

Logan swaddled at 4 days

What are the 5 S’s??

  • Shaking (gently)
  • Swaddling
  • Side
  • Sucking
  • Shushing

We’d have all 5 going at once.  I even added a 6th, the butt pat.  How does one person accomplish this with only two hands?  I’d be sitting in the rocker, holding Logan swaddled up as tight as he could be.  I’d roll him to his side facing me and cradled in one arm.  He’d have a pacifier in this mouth, which I held in with my cheek (he isn’t very good with the pacey yet).  I’d shush really loud in his hear (you have to shush loud to be heard over the cry).  And I’d pat his butt with my other hand.  It was a site, I’m sure.  We’d sit this way, shaking shushing and sucking away, for a long long time.

There were no trips outside in the stroller, no dinners made when Daddy came home, and showers only if I were lucky.  I felt like I accomplished nothing.

This was Logan’s second growth spurt.  Predictably right on schedule: between 6 and 8 weeks.  It left as soon as it came on.  Last night we enjoyed two nice 5 hour stretches of sleep and a 3 hour stretch to cap off the night.  It was wonderful.                                                            Logan at 6 1/2 weeks

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Sacred Harp in Utah baby!!!!!

Check out a little sacred harp video here cause you probably have no idea what it is.  Apparently there is a new revival of sacred harp in your urbanites. who would have thunk. I guess they are drawn to the complete lack of commercialization.

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Backdoors and Backyards

Becky would not let me title this post “Anal Sex and Mixed Martial Arts” but that’s really what we are going to talk about. As some of you may know Pastor Driscoll and his wife recently published a book on marriage. And this may not be much of a shocker to those who follow Driscoll (I am not one of them BTW), but he brings up some touchy subjects. Apparently one of them is anal sex within the bounds of marriage. I heard about this book because a man I do follow, Doug Wilson, had blogged a bit about it. (Initial Blog Here) His initial post was praising Driscoll for not being silent on some issues that the church has generally been silent on. As D.L. Moody once said, “I like his way of doing it better than other people’s way of not doing it.” In other words he was saying that it’s just as wrong to not address something than to address it in a controversial way. This first blog generated a bit of attention in the comments section over the issue of anal sex. However Doug had not reached that part of the book yet so he waited until he finished to write a post over the controversy that had developed. (That post is here).  However, what I’m actually interested in buried within these blogs and books is not the debate on anal sex, but how one’s hermeneutical leanings dictates how he/she makes decision on a variety of issues. In short for those who may not recognize that word, biblical hermeneutics is essentially the theory of how the bible is supposed to be interpreted. I guess its a system that is supposed to prevent massive abuse in interpretation (think prosperity gospel randomly grabbing verses and using them out of context).
So here is a tiny section from the first Doug Wilson post that caught my attention. (my emphasis added)

I agree with the Driscolls that what Scripture commends we should commend. What Scripture condemns we should condemn. I agree that if Scripture doesn’t condemn something, we are free to pursue it . . . depending. This last depending is where differences are likely to arise. I believe there are numerous areas where Scripture-based moral reasoning is necessary, but there needs to be a way to do it without legalistic looks of shocked dismay. When that moral reasoning — on practices not explicitly mentioned by Scripture — is followed, it has to be followed for what it is, which is casuistry done by fallible teachers. Wish us luck.

When is such moral reasoning necessary? Getting a sweet Jesus tattoo on your calf is not an indicator of poetic gifts. Growing a neck beard and moving to Portland does not make you a screenwriter. Buying a sex toy does not make you a savvy lover. We need a hermenuetic that does more than just read the Scriptures. We need a scriptural hermeneutic that shows us how to read our surrounding culture.

So there it is. It is proper and right to declare something wrong even if it is not specifically condemned in the bible. If you disagree with that, think of the implications of,

1 Kings 3:28

All Israel heard about the decision the king had made, and they held him in awe because they realized he had wisdom from God to make judgments.

This verse is at the end of the story about two women claiming to be the mother of one child. So Solomon says to chop the baby in half and they can share. The real mother says no way and tries to spare the life of the child. In doing this she showed to Solomon that she was the true mother. All this to say that God has given us the bible and intends us to use that as a source of wisdom while making decisions on anything and everything that pops up in our lives, directly discussed or not within the bible itself.

OK, on to the actual topic of the post. Over the last year or two I have been involved in many conversations around the subject of mixed martial arts. Here is an image for those who don’t know what this is. I think its’ a fair representation. Wiki says its a “full contact combat sport”. Essentially guys and gals are paid to kick the crap out of one another. Over the years I have not really had a clear and articulate defensible way to portray my thoughts on why this seems wrong. And to my surprise there is VERY little literature to be found about MMA from a Christian perspective. Which either means nobody knows about it, (like my last pastor) or Christians don’t think there is anything wrong with it. However I think tying it in with the hermeneutical debate raised in Driscoll’s book and mentioned above is the way to go in making a coherent defense of my stance against MMA. Even though MMA is not condemned in the bible specifically, its seems as though a hermeneutical approach brought forth by Doug Wilson would conclude with the condmenation of MMA. Is it lawful? MMA is currently ILLEGAL in some states. That is to say that a few secular states (and a ton more a few years ago) still feel that the violence is something that needs regulation. I mean give me a break, if a secular gov’t thinks it’s to violent, it’s shameful that Christians are more tolerant of violence than them. Is it helpful? I don’t know how you could possibly make that debate.
I just want one legitimate reason why MMA is OK once you take away the “it’s not specifically condemmed” argument. And here is a list of past argument that just don’t hold water, so dont even go there.
1. “Well if thats what you think, you need to condemn football and hockey.” Maybe, that’s another debate, but lets keep it focused on MMA right now. I would be willing to go the next step although I’m not sure they are comparable.
2. “Both parties are consenting”. Consent doesn’t make it OK.

Psalms 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

What do you think? Am I on to something here? I feel like the only thing missing is a bunch of verses that seem to uplift meekness and gentleness of heart and action towards one another and negatively portray violence. I don’ think that would be difficult.


One more blog on the Driscoll book from Doug Wilson. A good conclusion i think.  Added 1-13-11

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So long Chicago, Salt Lake here we come

From Dec 10 – 15, we trekked 1,403 miles from Evanston to Salt Lake City.  One hotel to the next, Logan went from pack-n-play to car seat.  The poor guy did pretty good considering.  He slept almost the whole time.

The day we arrived, we closed on our first house.  All we had was the air mattress, some musical instruments, a couple plants and a cooler for a chair.  Luckily our sellers realtor (yes, the seller) was really nice and brought us over a couple chairs and a coffee maker.  Our furniture was to be arriving in no more than 5 days, but Surprise! it wasn’t coming for 16 days!!  Babies first Christmas was a treeless one.  We’ll have to make up for it next year.

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Hello world!

Welcome Logan James

November 28, 2011

7 lb 6 oz

19 3/4 inches

7:14 pm

Logan was born in Evanston, where he lived for only 12 days.  It was probably some of the most hectic days in our lives.  We actively packed up our condo while learning the intricacies of eating, sleeping and pooping.

Logan loves his Daddy!

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