Tag Archives: reality

Irrational Choices Versus Common Sense.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m neither a philosopher nor the son of a philosopher—as you can easily discern. My dad and one of my brothers were engineers, the others skilled in the building trades. I took forest engineering. We were taught pragmatics, something most profess but few practice.

Why do I say that? Well, legislators seem to be abandoning common sense. They propose practices that run counter to reality: replacing his and her pronouns, adopting multi-sex bathrooms, financing sex-change operations, legalizing some drugs and on and on it goes. It’s time to ask why? Where have these ideas come from?
In my search, I’ve returned to Francis Schaeffer’s book, He Is There And He Is Not Silent. In the 1950’s and ’60’s he challenged the irrationality of atheism and agnosticism as philosophies. Today irrationality rules.

As Schaeffer pointed out, our world view (philosophy) must explain the reality and dscn4172complexity of our universe. There are two main answers given. One, there is no answer. All is chaotic and irrational. No one has been able to live with this answer in real life. They daily depend on gravity and a thousand concrete and unchanging realities.

Answer two, there is a rational answer that can be communicated. Among those who accept this thought, there are three possible sub-answers.

1. Everything that exists came out of absolutely nothing—no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality. No one has ever been able to sustain this answer. It is unthinkable. Those who maintain this as a view embrace other irrational ideas. But empirically, everything we enjoy practically, comes not from zero but from already existing matter.

dscn39502. Everything had an impersonal beginning whether from mass, energy, or motion. However, if we start with an impersonal something, how do any of the particulars that now exist have any meaning? No one has ever demonstrated how time plus chance, beginning with the impersonal, can produce the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the personality of man. If we subscribe to this answer, human love is just an impersonal chemical reaction. And if everything arose from impersonal “things” why have values. Why worry about pollution, poverty, or injustice? Indeed, why ponder questions at all? The dilemma of modern man is simple: he does not know if or why mankind has any meaning. He is lost. Man remains a zero.

3. Everything had a personal beginning in a personal-infinite God. This choice alone explains value, complexity, and personality. Schaeffer comments, “I would

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be an agnostic if there were no Trinity. Without the high order of personal unity and diversity as given in the Trinity, there are no answers.” Man, created in the image of God, has personality and in his complexity he has unity. God expresses in his being, the unity and diversity we see in the universe. There is no other answer that explains reality.

If, as most in the west do, we reject answer number three, we are left at sea without direction, purpose, moral principles, or goal. By choosing to ignore our divine origin and accountability, our society runs either by consensus or according to whoever has the loudest voice or the most influence. Whether a policy fits with reality doesn’t matter. Society just does whatevdscn1336-1er it wants; whatever feels good at the time; whatever gets the most votes; whatever is most convenient.

Is this any way to live? You be the judge. As for me and my house, we accept the third choice and thus embrace the description of reality and values as revealed in the Scriptures.

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca –Follow him on Facebook: Eric E Wright; on Twitter: @EricEWright1; on LinkedIn: Eric Wright )

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Time to Downsize?

Some months ago, we began the arduous task of selling our home in the country See www.countrywindow.caand downsizing. We needed to reduce everything so we could fit into an apartment less than half the size.

We got radical! I agonized over what books to cull in order to reduce my library by three quarters or more. Mary Helen began giving away her unique spoons and teacups to grandchildren. I rejoiced to find two people in ministry to whom I could entrust the collection of illustrations and topical subjects I’d gathered over fifty years. But how to condense five filing cabinets of records into one? Some of the heirloom items passed on to us, we gave to our kids and grandkids. Every week the garage guys wondered about the number of bags at the curb.

We loved our country property with its mature trees and gurgling stream. If possible, we would have gladly waited for the Lord to take us home from that idyllic spot. Why then pour ourselves into such a stressful task? It was time.

The urge to simplify and de-clutter makes good sense at any time. We all saddle ourselves with too much stuff. But as we age, we hit a critical time when downsizing becomes not just a wise choice but an urgent necessity. Haven’t we all heard too many horror stories of seniors who die leaving a home stuffed with junk for their relatives to get rid of? Such a legacy is cruel. Here then are a few questions we asked ourselves that might help you make a similar choice.

Is our home cluttered? One look in my closet told me that Mary Helen was right. “You haven’t worn some shirts for years! Get rid of them.” And a survey of the two levels of our house demonstrated that we had too many knickknacks, too Movingmany paintings, and too many family photos. And the garage! Tools, I’d never use again. All kinds of stuff that I once thought I’d use. The decision made, we took many trips to local charities with useable items from our abundance. Other stuff just needed to be taken to the dump.

Is our health weakened? The list of prescriptions we take, tell us the answer is, “yes.’ For some time now our family has warned me about using ladders. And yet there were windows to wash and gutters to clear. There were dead trees to fell. A realistic appraisal of our health, made us realize that we need to live where maintenance would become another’s responsibility.

Is our energy diminished? Mary Helen and I both scratch our heads about a mystery. Where has all our youthful energy gone? Weariness creeps up on us unexpectedly. It’s obviously time to sort out family memories to keep and toss out useless files while we still have some energy. Better to expend what energy we have on preserving and passing on memories and heritage rather than cutting grass.

Is our mobility reduced? With our washing machine down a flight of stairs, Mary Helen had found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the washing of clothes. With a knee replacement, I tackled stairs very gingerly. And we lived at some distance from town with its shopping and doctors’ offices. Time to move to an apartment building in town with an elevator where we can have everything on one level.

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Does this mean we should now mop and moan about our past? No way. New vistas of enjoyment have opened for us in town. We live near a beach and harbour. We can still see birds from our apartment window. And we can walk to a local coffee shop. Restaurants are nearby. Taking a jaunt into the surrounding countryside is still an option. Doctors’ appointments now are not 30 minutes or an hour away.

We’re so glad the Lord graciously nudged us to downsize and move to a place more suited to our current limitations. Have you considered downsizing or de-cluttering? Why not take the step while you can?

The Twelve Original Participants in Christmas

Throughout December we hear uncounted replays of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. You know the one, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones I used to know.” Now, I must admit I love to wake up Christmas morning to a blanket of white covering field and forest. The season brings a certain nostalgia as Christmas cards start arriving with idealized villages deep in snow, kids skating on frozen ponds and sleighs drawn by high stepping stallions. In our partOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA of the world we expect a snowy Christmas. Even south in Florida and across the globe in Australia and Fiji, it’s part of the mythology of Christmas.

Of course, some Christmases are green. Temperatures stay well above freezing. Maybe that’s not a bad thing—reminding us to get back to the real history behind the myth. The story behind the fairy tales of Santa Claus, Frosty the snowman, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer—the truth beyond the tinsel and trees, the feasting and buying. Merchants tell us they sell more at Christmas than at any other time of the year. Anyone who has tried to find a parking space at a mall during December will have to agree. Christmas means crowds of often grumpy people thronging the shops.

Was the first Christmas green? Does it snow in Bethlehem? Rarely. We do know that there were no crowds around the manger. God chose only about twelve or so people to participate in the original pageant. Most of the relatives and neighbours of Mary and Joseph had no idea what was happening. The religious leaders took no note of the birth of this child until foreign visitors arrived. King Herod and the political establishment missed the event that would separate history into AD and BC time. The innkeepers of Bethlehem were too busy counting their coins to notice another arrival, even if the woman was heavy with child.

Very few had a clue that history would never be the same. Fifteen months before the birth of Christ, an angel informed Elizabeth and Zechariah that their son John would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. That makes two who had an inkling. Nine months before Jesus’ birth Mary, and then Joseph, became participants. On the night of his birth an angel gave the news to two or three shepherds. That makes six or seven. Eight days after his birth God moved Simeon and Anna to celebrate the arrival of a Savior when his parents brought him to the temple. That makes eight or nine included in the drama. Almost a year later the Magi arrived. Although the text does not specify that there were three wise men, we know there must have been at least two. If we add up all the participants we find that God specifically chose eleven or twelve people to take part in the most astounding event in history—the incarnation of the Son of God.

Why so few? The record indicates that all shared something in common. As a young woman, Mary could say, “my soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46,47). Joseph “was a righteous man” (Matt. 1:19) who did not want to expose Mary “to public disgrace.” Elizabeth anCountry Road,Frostd Zechariah “were upright in the sight of God observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly” (Luke 1:6). Simeon “was righteous and devout” (Luke 2:25,26). Anna “worshipped night and day” (Luke 2:37). The text reveals nothing about the character or habits of the shepherds, however, the speed with which they went to find the baby and the way they left “glorifying and praising God” leads me to believe they were very sensitive to God. The Magi undertook a lengthy and dangerous journey with the express purpose of worshipping Christ. (Matt. 2:2)

Spiritual sensitivity links these twelve participants. They were conscientious worshippers—devout seekers after God.

In his Sermon on the Mount Christ taught, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8) Martyn Lloyd Jones points out that the purity mentioned here denotes singleness of vision and freedom from defilement. By singleness of vision, he means a focus on God—a God-centredness. This clear vision of God, in turn, leads the pure in heart to embrace what is good and true and holy—to flee defilement of any kind. In the grubby world in which we live such purity is rare. Those who treasure such purity see beyond the tinsel and trappings of Christmas—they see God. May that be true of us this Christmas!

Falling Leaves – Failing Health

Leaves have been slowly falling for the last week or so. They litter our lawn and beckon me to limber up the rake. Living in the country, I’m wont to let the wind do the raking for me, but this year I may gather some to enrich our compost heaps. That is, if I can get some relief from this arthritic knee which has me hobbling around the house.

With the falling leaves came falling temperatures. Although warm days continued into November, inevitably frost shriveled the flowers and killed the pepper plants. The garden cries out for me to abandon my seat at the computer and tidy up for the approaching winter. But I don’t quite feel like it.

Ah, yes, that nasty word, winter. Half the population laments the approach of shorter days, snowstorms, windshields encased in frost, and sky-high heating bills. The other half, well perhaps less than half, eagerly waxes their skiis, sharpens their skates, gets out their winter coats and plans a winter getaway to snow country.

Whatever one’s proclivity, it is pointless to complain about winter’s arrival. The passing of the seasons is unavoidable. We’d best face the facts with a cheerful countenance.

There is a season for everything. And, unlike the return of spring, we will not discover a fountain of youth for our aging bodies. No matter how many anti-winkle creams or pills we pop or operations we endure, age will gradually—or quickly—take its toll. Forgive me gentle reader for broaching a subject that is almost taboo. But it seems to me that like winter, we need to accept the inevitable—and prepare for it. Okay, I admit it, I haven’t yet given in to Mary Helen’s urging that we purchase a cemetery plot.

It will do me no good to nostalgically long for earlier years when I could run and jump and climb without hindrance. When the roof needs shingling again, I don’t think I’ll do it myself. No, it’s time to stare reality in the face—or in the mirror. My hair is thinning, my heart is weakening, and my legs are giving out. Last weekend I had to stop the repairs I was doing on my woodland bridge and take a breather.

None of this means that we are doomed to gloom. As the years accumulate, we can focus more on becoming godly, and less on feats of athletic skill. We can allow our circumstances to generate more empathy and compassion for others. We can read good books and write letters and send emails and use the phone to encourage people. We can talk to God more, intercede more, and study more about our future hope. Heaven is ahead. Christ will return. The kingdom will come. There will be no more pain and no more tears. What’s not to like about that!  [For books by this author see: http://www.countrywindow.ca]