Tag Archives: discernment

the power and fragility of the imagination

The effects and pervasiveness advertising is a good example of both the power and fragility of the imagination.

We are (almost always subconciously!) actually affected by some hyper-loud voice telling us something in the ad-breaks of whatever TV show we’re watching or by some image we see on a billboard, in a magazine, etc., etc. ad infinitum…  That is how fragile our imaginations are.

And we act, behave, decide, spend-time/money, choose, etc. ‘out of’ our imagination.  We buy ‘this’ or ‘that’ product based (often) on nothing but our imaginitive affection for it…  That is how powerful our imaginations are.

This is a double edged sword.  Great strides in medicine, architecture, physics, art, education, etc., etc. have been made because someone ‘imagined’ a different way.  Also great pain has been caused in marriages, families, communities and nations because one or more people ‘imagined’ that that woman, experience, possession, ideology or whatever would be desirable, fun, cool or powerful.

Take an affair for example.  They don’t just ‘happen’.  A man/woman must first enjoy the company of someone other than their spouse.  Imaginitive step after imaginitive step are taken.  And boom – there you have it – an affair.

This appreciation of (and respect for) the power and fragility of the imagination is what should drive all concerns about things like pornography, boobs-on-bikes parades and modesty, etc., etc.  Sooooo often, they are often driven by what seems like an assumption that if we could just get the laws sorted out to how we think they should be, people will behave like we think they ought…

…leaving the power and fragility of the imagination (the heart of the issue) untouched, un-dealt-with, un-appreciated… and not solving any problems whatsoever.

stinking stimulus

Anyone who has a knee jerk (i.e. less than critical) reaction to political events in general and the recent U.S. stimulus package in particular, should shut up and think before ranting.

That said, I just don’t like the thought (much less the passing) of the new stimulus package (and I’m not at all anti-Obama – to be crystal clear).  $US838 BILLION – on what I can’t help but see as a kind of massively over-sized whallop to a horse that is eventually going to die.  Yes, I’m aware of the complexity to all this, and No, I don’t think there are any quick fixes.  But I still cannot understand or begin to support spending nearly a trillion dollars on trying to preserve the “American Way of Life” ™.

What kind of precedent are we setting for future generations?  What are we saying to the rest of the world – much of which is living in some mild or severe form of poverty; a different kind of poverty indeed to the ‘poverty’ some are facing in ‘developed’ nations around the world.

Some may think, “Oh, but financial prosperity for the ‘rich west’ will enable them to be generous to the ‘poor rest’…”  That kind of capitalistic mentality (a.k.a. ‘the rising tide will lift many small boats’) is utter Bull.  Greed does not engender generosity.

Instead of our bank account levels needing to go ‘up’, we need our standard of living to go ‘down’ to a realistic and sustainable place.  And as long as ‘going out and spending money to stimulate the economy’ is part of doing your ‘patriotic duty’, then I think I want to be unpatriotic.

pre-marital what?

It has been said before that “______”s (insert whatever Christian denomination you wish to pick on) are against pre-marital sex because it might lead to dancing… :)

But on a more serious note, the topic of ‘pre-marital sex’ (a.k.a. ‘sex before marriage’) is an interesting one.  Many Christians can assume that there is a specific verse in the Bible forbidding it…

There is no such verse.

But really, there is no such thing (as we shall see) as pre-marital sex, either… Continue reading

on tolerance

The louder one screams about the need to be tolerant, the more their very act of screaming demonstrates the equal need to be intolerant (for example, the need to be intolerant of intolerance), which also means their screaming is only a half-truth…

Not 100% false, not 100% true, but a half-truth; which isn’t too helpful, really…

What would be helpful would be to suggest what should be tolerated and what should not – and why…

wright – ‘wisdom in a troubled time’

In this sermon to head-masters/mistresses, Wright touches on quite a few important concerns – especially for our time.  In particular, he focuses on at least two examples of foolishness ( 1) economic foolishness demonstrated in the current ‘crisis’, and 2) the foolishness of the so-called ‘evolution-creation debate’) and the need for wisdom.  Good stuff, Bishop.

being responsible with your bits

This post over at Scoop highlights the reality (whether we like it or not) that the ‘anything goes’ mindset (and more specifically the outworking of that mindset) toward sexuality is not healthy – literally.  It does matter where you put your bits.

For me, an interesting angle is that of self-control.  We have the ability to control even the most basic and ‘natural’ desires.

Clearly, none of us controls our ‘self’ as well as we may want to (if we are audacious enough to believe that we even should control ourselves).  Apparently, something more than short-term national campaigns is needed – according to the article:

The effects of the ‘Hubba Bubba’ campaign haven’t lasted. More young people are getting STIs, not fewer.  What’s needed is a renewed emphasis on education and personal responsibility. Young New Zealanders need an attitude change.

Maybe re-claiming the value of the human body and sexuality would help just a tad?

lying and technology

This post over at newsweek raises an interesting question…

Can we trust photos in an age where photo-editing technology is not only highly advanced, but free?

The case of the extremely-strange-looking animal is one thing – there are (probably) ways of getting at whether or not such a thing exists other than arguing over the veracity of the pic; but what about photos of – say – someone committing a crime? Useless in a court of law?

Things that make ya go hmmm…

so sexy so soon

Have a read.

It’s not just those fundamentalist, conservative, annoying Christians who are concerned about our western over-sexed culture…

‘carnage?’

I briefly met someone recently who was supervising a group of youth who were attending the ‘Get Smart’ conference in Auckland, NZ.  He asked if I had been attending the conference.  When I said no, he replied, “Oh man, it’s great.  We were just there and when we left things were still going.  Carnage, man.  Just carnage.”

I was genuinely confused.

“Carnage?” I said.

“Yeah man,” he replied, “Carnage.  Kids everywhere.  All over the floor.”

I — having realised now that I had (unfortunately) learned a new piece of spiritual mumbo-jumbo jargon — bit my tongue.

I’ll keep this post short and to the point.

I see no reason whatsoever to believe that people rolling around on the floor in ecstatic states of consciousness is anything close to the kind of human behaviour that moves the heart of God.  I have no reason whatsoever to endorse or support such behaviour, much less encourage it.

(Sigh…)

ken miller on ‘the colbert report’

http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/videos.jhtml?episodeId=173099

(tried to embed video but HTML didn’t work – maybe a problem between HTML and CSS???  That’s how for my web knowledge goes…  not very far…)