In 2003, the short-film Most made its way onto the big screen. The film shows the story of a single father who takes his son to work with him at the bridge which he tends. He was responsible for raising and lowering the bridge at the appropriate times to allow ships and trains to pass. One day as the bridge remained raised, a train approached an hour before schedule. After failing to get his father’s attention and warn him to lower the bridge for the quickly approaching train, the boy attempted to manually lower it on his own and accidentally fell into the gear-works that enabled to bridge to operate. Continue reading
While on Facebook recently, I came across a picture that claimed to be outlining the differences between “Linear Thinking” (also known as “dualistic logic”) and “Systems Thinking (aka “holistic logic”).
It was presented from the perspective of approaches to teaching. The overall message of this particular Facebook page was that our educational systems should take a holistic approach and that the dualistic manner in which students are currently taught is deficient. Specifically, “Christopher” who posted the picture said:
This is a handout I made for a conference presentation entitled “New Paradigms in Education,” in 1997. I’d like to update it, maybe simplify and change some of the descriptions. Your feedback on what should be edited and what seems most interesting and important would be greatly appreciated.1
Upon reading through the “handout,” it became abundantly clear that it was really more of an advocacy piece than anything educational. The way it described “dualistic logic” used very negative terminology whereas “holistic logic” was presented in a positive, favorable manner.
During the Christmas season I usually spend time contemplating what makes this time of year merry. As a Christian, my focus is on a baby born in a manger nearly 2000 years ago. What bearing does it have on merrymaking that a child was born in poverty so long ago?
One word in particular keeps coming to mind. That word is truth. John’s Gospel tells us that the child is God, the Word made flesh, who came full of grace and truth. Years later when the child grew up, he announced that the truth he proclaimed would bring freedom.
Truth brings freedom? Do we really believe this? The extent to which we lie indicates that we actually believe truth brings bondage. Why do children lie about stealing a cookie, politicians about their marital infidelity, or loved ones about taking illegal substances? We lie because we believe the truth won’t set us free. If we tell the truth things will go bad for us. We’ll lose the freedom we desire. We run from truth.
In a social climate where a majority of people claim to believe that truth is relative, I find it curious that one of the most effective accusations leveled at a political opponent is that of lying. We have partisan “fact-checkers” who masquerade as neutral agents in an effort to bolster these claims. Both sides accuse the other of lying or of intentional deception.
I am not shocked that politicians lie or embellish the truth; we have several millennia of evidence to substantiate this claim. I am not shocked that opponents would loudly condemn the lying. What shocks me is the ease in which the accusations are leveled and the effectiveness of the accusations in achieving political gains. Continue reading
When Christians try to share the Gospel with Muslims, they often encounter some resistance because Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet of God, just like Abraham, Moses, Jonah, etc. “Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him.” (Surah 5:75) Then, when Christians try to show that Jesus claimed to be more than a prophet and did actions in accordance with those claims, Muslims will say that the New Testament has been corrupted and is not reliable. The Christian will then respond with a classical, apologetic defense of the reliability of the NT documents. It kind of goes something like this:
When Christians hear objections with regard to who Jesus claimed to be, they (without fail) whip out CS Lewis’ famous trilemma of “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord”. Based on Jesus’ claims of being the “I AM” of the Old Testament and the “Son of Man” who was the divine figure referenced throughout Jewish apocryphal literature, in addition to the fact that Jesus accepted worship and claimed to have the authority to forgive sins, he cannot simply be a good teacher or a prophet…yada yada yada. No good teacher or prophet would say the things that Jesus said or do the things that Jesus did…yada yada yada (not ‘yoda!). This approach is all well and good in dealing with pluralists, as I show here. But when dealing with skeptics, the Liar, Lunatic, Lord approach doesn’t work.
“How do you really know that Jesus said and did all that stuff?” The trilemma becomes a “quadlemma”. A fourth option now rears its ugly head…Legend.
The other day I was in conversation with a friend who is quite involved in the political scene over here in The States. Every now and then she will forward me the latest “evidence” pointing toward the corruption of government in general. However, she had made a religious claim that she based on subjective evidence. I had asked her to support the assertion in a way that might be compelling to someone else. She not only offered the subjective evidence, but claimed that it was up to the other person to prove her point of view incorrect, then she topped it off with, “That is my opinion”.
Kristin Cashore’s recently released Bitterblue, the sequel to Graceling, premiered at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List. If early reviews and previous successes are any indication, the list of accolades will be impressive – and deservedly so. Ms. Kashore is a gifted writer who spends years honing her books, and it shows.
THE BASIC PREMISE
The story takes place approximately 10 years after Graceling ends. Bitterblue, once rescued from certain doom by Katsa and Po, now rules a kingdom still reeling from what Bitterlblue calls “the rape of her mind” by her maniacal father, the former king. He had subjected the realm to unspeakable cruelty with a Grace (a gift) that made people believe the lies he told to cover up his fixation with torture and murder. Many people disappeared when he was alive; many more still hide very dark secrets even though he is long gone. Continue reading