Transitioning into the 2nd half of life

This year has kicked off with a flourish and I’ve been left with a few sensations of things that were brewing in my sub-conscious over the holidays (that I would have ordinarily reflected upon and processed while sitting on the beach, but alas, parenting requirements too precedence).

What has been lurking below the surface is best described as a feeling of loss regarding novelty. Let me give you an example. I love epic movies. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy  was a serious highlight for me during the years in which they were released. There is just something about the opening scens of an epic movie that move me! Movies just don’t move me like that anymore. The novelty of that experience has now become, well, bland. I’ve been drawn to Richard Rohr’s teachings on Adult Christianity where he teaches about the two stages of life and spirituality. I’ve now realised that feeling associated with a loss of novelty in life is actually a symptom of my transition into the second stage of my life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why Atheists won’t believe in what is not seen

My son, Daniel, is 6 months old. A key developmental milestone for him over the next few months is for him to learn that when an object is out of sight, it still exists. For him, an object only exists if he can see it. This goes for any object; animate or inanimate. Psychologists call this developmental phenomenon ‘object permanence’. We typically grow out of it within a year or so as a baby, but it causes a great deal of anxiety for a baby. This is because when mommy leaves the room, she ceases to exist for Daniel. Part of the learning curve is to learn that mommy is ‘permanent’.

Now, I said above that we typically learn object permanence at an early age. I wonder what happens if we don’t fully resolve our object permanence issues and if this might shed some light when considering how some individuals purport to only ‘believe in what they can see’. Atheists are some of the most vocal proponents of this philosophy.

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Proof, and the absence thereof

If I were to write a book, I would like it to be an apologetic piece. Not in the “I’m sorry” sense, but rather in the apologetic tradition of defending the Christian faith (note that I don’t say ‘religion’). I have sooooo many emerging thoughts on the advent of the ‘new atheism’, that en vogue movement that loves to slate Christian faith from a supposed scientific perspective. I thoroughly enjoy debating issues of faith with atheists.

Through these discussions I have been searching for a common grounds of sorts that will allow us to agree on a starting point from which to engage – so often these “religion” conversation deteriorate into into petty slander.

I think I may have found such a starting point, and it is an uncanny point of departure for people of faith: proof. Let me explain …

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Barry Marshall: larger than life

It was exactly a year ago that my good friend Barry Marshall died in a tragic paddle-skiing incident in Port Elizabeth.

I remember the day vividly. 2nd September 2009. Sam and I had just received a mail from Elaine, Barry’s wife, sending us a belated congratulations on our new pregnancy. Elaine didn’t know it then, but Barry had already been lost out at sea for many hours. The next morning I received a call from Mike. Mike tends to phone me when massive stuff is happening, like when he called in 2001, telling me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Centre in New York. Mike’s call went like this on the 3rd September 2009, “Aids, I’ve heard a rumour that Barry Marshall is missing. Do you know anything about it?” What followed was an intense 4 hour period as we received updates from the NSRI as they searched for Barry out at sea. At about lunch time we got the news that the search was over. They had found Barry’s body. He did not survive the night out at sea.

I cannot describe the shock that I was in. Barry was a larger than life character – it was inconceivable that he was dead. So, on the anniversary of his death, here’s an ode to a larger than life character …
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Jennifer Knapp Comes Out

I found out with interest today that Jennifer Knapp, a well known contemporary Christian songwriter/musician has admitted to being gay. Not having been too aware of Knapp’s life story, it turns out that her being gay is not that much of a surprise as she’s been in a same-sex relationship since 2002. She has also been out of the Christian music seen for a similar amount of time. Knapp had an in-depth interview with Christianity Today about here story (read it here). She made one point about her “struggle” that I think is pertinent to churches that are “wrestling” with the issue of same-sex relationships, and how gay people experience that “struggle” …

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Debating heaven & hell

I quite enjoy debating my Christian faith with mates who are atheists. One mate I REALLY enjoy a good, hearty, robust debate with is Rich Mulholland. Besides the odd face-to-face conversation (we’re overdue for lunch), Rich takes me on when I tweet about Christian stuff. Tonight I tweeted this quote from CS Lewis, “Christians don’t think God will love us because we’re good, but that God will make us good because He loves us”. Rich responded in his ever incisive manner:

There were a few more tweets, but the debate is too big, even for Twitter. So, here I outline some more thoughts and invite Rich to carry on the conversation here …

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