Category Archives: Psychology

Piano progress

Oh my. Last night I practiced C Maj scale and wrote out the positions of the notes on the staves. Today I downloaded and printed off “You Say” the Lauren Daigle hit. I very slowly and painfully figured out and learned and practiced the right and left hand, again and again until… oh wow I can actually, just about, play it. My fingers ache and it does that funny-I -can’t-describe-it-my-brain-hurts thing that your head does when it is learning a motor skill. It actually felt quite emotional, finally achieving something I have wanted to be able to do for many years (actually more than 5 decades).

The weirdest part is I did it in in just 2 days. When I finally got through it with reasonably fluidity and all the right notes it feel like I felt when I danced my very first tango properly and got it right. So I am feeling very encouraged. It is very very early days but I am thinking maybe I really might be able to do this piano thing – assuming my hands hold up.  I’m hoping the aches gradually get less as I develop muscles I haven’t used. I’m struggling to program my brain to sight read the music and translate it into fingers on keys. I have not cracked that yet but I am thinking it will happen as I just keep at it. I am also struggling to make coordinated movements with my fingers to produce the rhythms I can hear in my head but note make the fingers do yet! Did I mention it is hard?

What I am not doing is using any modern electronic cheats or gimmicks. I am doing it absolutely the old-fashioned hard way, plain black and white manual keys and plain black and white notes on paper, because I want to be able to really do this. It is (at least) as hard as I expected but oh my it is also so very rewarding when another bit clicks into place and it starts happening properly.

I am applying all the learning theory that I was taught in Uni , taking breaks, doing bite sized chunks not too big or small, mixing theory and practice, repeating learning at the right intervals and so forth, as this has served me well with physical and mental learning many times in the past. Learning how to learn will save you time and having that skill is not a gimmick. The book I was taught to was called “The Good Study Guide” and it has been updated recently. You can read it for free at my alma mater (The OU)  http://www2.open.ac.uk/students/_data/documents/helpcentre/good-study-guide.pdf

Advertisements

Being, consciousness, existence, self-awareness.

Being, consciousness, existence, self-awareness.

It would be fair to say, a lot of philosophers, theologists, linguists, psychologists, neurologists and other accidental or deliberate ontologists have expended a great deal of time, thought, ink and small patches of electromagnetic difference on this topic.

The current secular physiological stand is roughly that a complex patternated network of neurons with differentiated potential transmission capabilities along the pathways within it, gradually forms in response to stimuli and that this is a knowledge representation of the world, in which the constant activity eventually also forms a representation of the self as part of this world-model. The relating of the self-portion of the model to the rest of the world-model, constantly necessitated through the interactive experience of agency (tocsin – reticulating actions in babies*) as part of this learning of the self), causes the emergent phenomenon we call consious experience.

This is of course a wholly self-referential system. As such it gives me some cause to question whether such a flying by pulling on ones bootlaces model is really sufficient to explain consciousness. Is it rather that the current theory just cobbles together the few bits of information it has into a partial theory that scientists hope is right and hope to be able to make more robust as more evidence, hopefully supporting it, comes along. Well of course it is, as that is what all scientific theories do. However, as such incomplete things, all scientific theories also have to suffer the slings and arrows of logical objections picking them apart, offering alternative explanations, and demanding a re-think. I present my slings, arrows and demand.

The self-referential emergence (I’ll shorten that to SRE) theory of consciousness does not really drill down into that nub of the question we all really want to get at: Who or what is it that experiences being? SRE just says, in effect, “It is me that experiences being me.” This kind of answer does not satisfy, me.

Generally wholly self-referential answers are deprecated in science, logic and philosophy. The whole thrust of these branches of enquiry is to constantly seek what the next underpinning layer is, with perhaps some vague vain hope that eventually there will be some irrefutably logical underlying truth. The secular scientists of today hope of course that this will not turn out to be some supreme deity forever beyond their understanding. That would bring a whole heap of consequences that society after thousands of years has only just managed to stop worrying about.
The problem is that firstly there is unlikley to be any end to the secular process of scientific burrowing because the answer would need to be sustained by logic and the question is then: “But what sustains logic?”

Are we to arrive at yet another self-referential answer – logic sustains logic? This would seem very unsatisfactory. Despite many attempts to burrow to the bottom, nothing more fundamental has yet been obtained.

We are given clues however. The problem is these clues point to the theistic explanation. One such clue is the etymology of the word we use “logic.” This greek word means “that which is spoken; the word.”

We are burrowing down to look for the bedrock, the underlying truth, the progenitor of being, the foundation upon which logic itself rests.

Let me tell you, anyone that is willing to hear to the (initially) difficult (in terms of personal and social consequences), THIS truth. We have arrived at the bedrock!

It is there written for all to see. Logic (the word) you seek. The spark of being that experiences consciousness you seek. The basic original progenitor you seek. Your answer was already written with absolute clarity by the man who was given all the answers 2000 years ago. He was told to tell them to us. His name was John and he tells you what he was told to tell you, then he tells you who he is, that he is just an ordinary man given a mission to hear the truth and pass it on, then he explains why people will find it hard to believe him. He does not say anything in this immediate answer part, about the consequences of you knowing this truth (that information comes later), he simply answers these ultimate existential queries that we all harbour.

John 1 King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

You can stop digging only if you are prepared to yield that there is a God, that God underpins everything, including space and time so you cannot ask what was before God or where did God come from. The answer is not however self-referential for us, as it refers us and our world to something beyond. It refers us to God. God may seem self-referential to God, but we cannot apply logic to God as God is logic.

If you seek some Biblical confirmation – you will find that important things are usually stated in the Bible more than once – I can refer you to:

Colossians 1:17 King James Version (KJV)
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

There are numerous cross-references of course:

John 8:58 “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Proverbs 8:22,23 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old…

Isaiah 43:11-13 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior…

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, …

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Revelation 1:8,11,17 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, …

Psalm 75:3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up …

John 5:17,18 But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work…

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also …

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his …

Finally, why am I spending my time telling you this? Because all my nearly 60 years I have enjoyed having an enquiring mind. “Why, why, why?” has been my way of thinking. Finally God came into my life and supplied answers. Incredible answers. Answers to questions that everybody asks. Answers that can be very hard to beleive, but there they are anyway. Finding answers is joyful and it is my joy to share them. In Mathew 7:7 you find the famous “Seek and ye shall find” passage. Matthew actually tells you that if you seek answers from God, He will give you them. John actually told you the answers already because God knew you would ask those questions. There of course many other questions people have, some very philosophical, some personal, some socio-political, some moral and ethical, and some very scientific. Pretty-much the answers to these are actually already in the Bible, and usually in shockingly more detail than you might suppose.

Today, instead of being in Sunday morning church (usually I am but not today), I have instead read some Bible and chosen to pass on some information, in the hope it might bring joy, enlightenment and blessing into your life. I cannot think of a better thing to do with that freely given by God than to share it.

Enjoy Being as God intended.
God Bless You. Amen.

being.jpg

NOTES:

* The presence of repetitive movements, described as the repetition of the same movement multiple times, is considered a necessary step for the development of voluntary purposeful movements and seems to have an adaptive role during limited temporal windows of psychomotor development.
(Thelen E. (1979). Rhythmical stereotypies in normal human infants.
                     Anim. Behav. 27 699–715. 10.1016/0003-3472(79)90006-X [PubMed] [Cross Ref])

Putting a different spin on it

Sometimes the spiritual radar just looks at something and instinctively knows it isn’t right in some way. Fidget spinners for instance. What is it about those eh?

Well they are infantile toys that don’t exactly encourage the adult in us for a start. The Bible says “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV.

They encourage a repetitive meaningless movement, a distraction and an addiction – a nasty habit like chewing gum or smoking. In Titus 2 throughout, we read about the need for self-control – the very antithesis of addictions and compulsions, which fidget toys serve only to develop. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” – Titus 2:12 KJV.

There are also those little titanium spinning tops, another “executive” toy. Now really, and not that they are models we should look up to, but do you seriously think that “executives” spend their time fiddling in their offices with expensive silly toys? Stop and think about the language there too. “Executive” – what is an executive? An executive is the somewhat more junior director that has the job of telling even more junior people (managers) what to do. The non-execs, presidents and chairs get to do the thinking and are actually the more senior. None of them of course play with toys because they are adults, and the execs and managers are too busy for the playground anyway. The toys are for the really junior people, the working class proles that are sufficiently lacking in understanding to perceive that using the word “executive” is just a way of dressing up the toy so they can feel it is acceptable, perhaps even aspirational, to buy what is actually a time-wasting distracting habit. The devil just loves it when you get hooked on some time-wasting habitual pointless distraction.

Now here’s a thing. You will have heard of prayer wheels, the things that non-Christian religions like Buddhism spin round in a paganistic ritual to repetitively send their incantations to… well not the real God so it must be the other guy. Did you know that they put prayers on hard drives so they get “sent” as they spin? So, what about those fidget spinners and little metal spinning tops, do you suppose that some satanic folks might have attached their bad prayers to them, for hapless “kidults” to unwittingly propagate their incantations?

Oh of course I am talking nonsense right? Well check out what is behind the Driedel (Jewish top); the spinning top amongst the toys used by the Titans to allure and kill Dionysus (about as Orphically “underworld” as you could want); the shoji piece spinning top; the human danza de los volodores; the British Maypole dances, the use of a spinning top in the movie “Inception” has led to people experimenting with the highly dangerous practice of inducing lucid dreams to rely on spinning tops as a “reality check” (think Hatha/Raja yoga meditation’s chitta kaj). Now I could go on, but really, it isn’t just me, just Google “spinning top satanic” and you will get over 64,000 hits.

 

The mystery of the Trinity

People continually pose the Trinity as being an unfathomable mystery. At first it is easy to go along with this collective confusion that adds a bit of extra mysticism and atmosphere to the Christian religion. However, I suggest that even a rudimentary understanding of psychology will demystify the Trinity and give us a better understanding of the God who made us. That is surely a much better thing to have than a cloudy consensus of unnecessary ignorance which seems to be there only for the sake of dramatic effect and wriggle room when difficult questions are asked. I don’t feel that the God who created the whole universe really needs such shoddy scenery – He is not the Wizard of Oz and He does not need flimsy curtains to hide behind. The God I know tells it like it is and has laid out most of the answers you are likely to need already in writing in His Bible.

tri.jpg

The fundamental thing that I am getting at is given right at the beginning of the Bible. Because it is from the Bible you can be sure of the underlying premise. We are made in God’s image. If God is a Trinity then it is reasonable to suppose that within us you will also find that triune nature reflected.

Genesis 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  (KJV)

There is an awful lot in the two passages above. I have highlighted the parts relevant to this blog article that show the man created in Genesis 1:27 is multiple in nature and is in the image of God who is also multiple in nature. Before however I continue with my main theme, which is the triune nature of mankind, I would like to just mention one of the very important other things contained in the passages above. The next time someone suggests that God might be a woman you can point them to Genesis 1:27. Clearly within God are both male and female because as creations made in the image of God, we also have as a species those aspects. God is male, the Spirit, The Son and the Father, yes male, but within them they have the female, and in that image we were created both males and females.

Richard A. Posner has said:

“Some people hate themselves. But if I say, “I hate myself,” who is this “I” that stands apart from “myself”? And notice how in the expression “I am not myself today,” the “I” and “myself” change places. Now it is “myself” who is the authentic, the authoritative, the judgmental “I,” and it is “I” who is the self that is judged and found wanting. Some people talk to themselves; when they do, who is speaking and who is listening?”

So, there you have an educated but non-psychologist’s view of the multiple nature of each of us that probably most people would recognise.

Sigmund Freud was roundly attacked for many years by much of mainstream psychology, especially in the very left-wing universities such as the one where I studied. Freud is now left by mainstream psychology in a backwater of history by most university teaching. When I was studying psychology many years ago the attack on him was in full swing, perpetrated by left-wing liberals, anti-racists and feminists who disliked him because of the attitudes he held. His attitudes were of course completely normal and acceptable in the times and culture – Vienna the late 1880’s – when he did his work. It is nowadays we find objection. His detractors however were so strident and aggressive in their demands for the expulsion of anything that did not fit their ultra-egalitarian view of politics, they chose to throw out the baby with the bathwater rather than recognise that just because a person comes with attitudes we would no longer agree with, they can nevertheless tell some truths. It is as if an evil dictator were to point to a clear blue sky and say the sky is blue and we were to say no the sky is green because we did not like his politics. To do so is arrant nonsense.

Freud posited the Ego, ID and Super-Ego as being the  three aspects of mind of which we are comprised. He also posited different drives or motivations such as Libido (sexual) and Thanatos (the death wish) that incline us to different behaviours. In a nutshell, Freud was saying it is as if we have several different minds or personalities, chiefly three. Freud also recognised that the relationships we have with those closest to us have significant effect upon our behaviour. Freud posited syndromes such as the Oedipus complex in his attempt to categorise and explain some of the more prevalent types of unhealthy relationships that may influence us. One can readily accept that Freud’s more developed theories are in many cases probably erroneous or at least very over-stated. However as I have said we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater and lose site of the underlying insights that Freud had.

Notwithstanding the internecine conflicts of psychological endeavour, there are more recent scientific advances that claim to undermine the whole realm of modern talking psychology. The neuropsychology of neuroscience, using machines such as various forms of tomography (eg functional magnetic resonance imaging) can show that different regions of the brain, sometimes different regions simultaneously, are active during different mental states and tasks. Far from supplanting psychology however, I think a more honest appraisal of neuro-psychology is that it validates psychology, and politically annoyingly for many modern thinkers, also validates somewhat the theories of Freud.

It is not unknown that early scientist’s theories are thrown out and ridiculed, only for later science to show they were quite close to the truth, but science does not like to admit its mistakes. In the murky and highly contestable world of evolution we find examples such as Lamarck – look what we now know about epigenetics but no-one is saying “Oh dear sorry” to Lamarck. Then there is Immanuel Velikovsky who said that planets had collided and was poo-pooed. Now we say the moon was a result of a big collision and there are lots of other planetary collisions that are suggested as well, by the same mainstream astronomy that lambasted Velikovsky, called him fraud and sent him into the margins of history from where I doubt you have ever heard of him. Dare we speak of Tesla? The AC current you are using today is his contribution, but you know the name of Edison much better eh? All I am saying here is DO NOT TRUST ORTHODOX SCIENCE – it is as a dishonest and political and hypocritical endeavour as any other. Science will tel you there is no God, but it will sacrifice truth even in its own ranks for less noble ideals, and it will not admit when it is wrong. When I was a kid we were told that Pandas were NOT Bears. Now they are Bears. Whaaaat?!

My original purpose in studying psychology was to understand the nature of consciousness. In that endeavour I felt that I had gone as far as I could at the time when I was studying. I was confident then and still am that consciousness is an emergent process and as such has many components that you might describe as mini–minds. That was some decades ago and science has moved on. Nevertheless all that the march of progress has contributed to understanding the nature all the human mind still points to a very triune nature, annoyingly to some, very much like that which Freud described.

That triune nature of man, unsurprisingly to a Christian, reflects the fact that as Genesis 1:26 reports, we are indeed made in the image of God – a Trinity created and loves us. We are so like God in that aspect, it really should not be hard to understand the Trinity at all.

Conducting an experiment

The great soap experiment continues. Links to some earlier blogs about to here and here and here <– click them

Your intrepid researcher would like you to know he is now “suffering” for soapy science. He is enduring electric shocks to add to the knowledge of the world. <grin>

Occasionally like most people I get static electricity shocks, usually when getting out of my car, and only in certain weather if I am wearing certain clothes or shoes.

Since changing to pure minimum-chemical soaps for all skin and hair washing activities and Dead Sea salts for bathing I have been getting ridiculous amounts of shocks off all kinds of objects. My watch also stopped – it is less that two months old and had a new battery in it.

So I am now beginning to think that I have changed the electrical properties of my skin – probably its conductivity.

I had wondered what the long-term effects, possibly ill, of SLS and similar on the skin might be. Especially I had thought that maybe any ill effects might be unexpected and non-obvious, as well as possibly more obvious. Changing the electrical properties of the body, in any way, is certainly nothing I had imagined. It goes to show however that there may indeed be some unconsidered and potentially (little pun there) far-reaching side effects from these almost ubiquitous surfactant chemicals that we may want to  question deeply. I have no idea what the changing electrical properties of my body are, or in what way they are being changed – whether it is just something trivial or whether there are more subtle and profound effects. I do know our nerve impulses and brain are electrochemical circuits, so I do wonder if something profound might just be lurking.

Another thing that happened that is hard do describe was when I was washing my hands on one occasion, I had a very strange and fleeting feeling of a withdrawal symptom, incredibly subtle and fleeting, but of the kind one gets when one has stopped using an addictive chemical such as Nicotine.

I recall that Pastor Robert Maasbach of Life Church UK, when he visited our local church and prayed for me, said that I would be freed from all addictions. I was freed from addiction to Nicotine. Are we also being addicted to SLS compounds? Sounds crazy, but I dunno, this is an experiment.

I will report further.

 

Rest-giving work

Faith is the substance of things hoped for.

Faith is that exercise of the same power Christ has to collapse the probability wave to make manifest the desired outcome. Faith can move mountains. Faith is necessary because unless you are exercising the power to collapse the probability wave, then you are merely being washed along by it. God always leaves room for faith. He does not jam the reality of His truth into your face with crude “proof.” To do so is logically impossible anyway, because you would have to believe your senses to believe the “proof,” and to do so is an act of faith – viz Descartes’ “Cogito Ergo Sum” (I think therefore I am) leading to the notion that nothing other than that can be trusted as true (notwithstanding Kant, a discussion for another day perhaps). Existence without faith is existence without free will. That is an absurdity which we instinctively know not to be the case for every being that has a soul, saved or not.

Works: The outward sign of the spirit of Christ dwelling within.

Works can sometimes benefit the worker as much as the receiver of the work.

Example – I was fretting about tomorrow – money, job, health – all the usual frets.

Our church has been helping a little old widowed lady of diminished means move house. My wife’s cousin and my wife have been among the people helping the lady.

Yesterday my wife needed to go to help the lady in the evening time so I offered to drive her rather than she walk. I then, being there, had an opportunity to help the little old lady myself. So I did a small practical task while my wife did the other things that needed doing. Be sure I am not writing this to boast of this great work – tying one knot to fix a clothes line onto a pole.

So the little old lady was helped, but how did this benefit me? We cannot say it helped my salvation, as we are not saved by works (although there are arguments on the spectrum about midway between Catholic and Evangelical that would say they are a necessary manifestation of having been saved – read lots of St.Paul and form your own conclusions).

The thing is, I had been fretting. All the usual job, money, health frets that could apply to most people most of the time.

But Christ had arranged that I got to see how this helpless elderly lady of diminished means has:

  • been provided with a home
  • had many pounds (UK money) of debt forgiven
  • been helped to move
  • been provided with brand new carpets
  • been provided with telephones
  • been provided with arrangements to fix for her television aerial and allowed to spread the cost
  • found her lost keys
  • found her lost kitchen utensils
  • found her lost hearing aids and the batteries for them
  • had someone come and offer to walk her dog
  • been provided with a  food parcel
  • been made happy warm and safe in her new home and is looking forward to being able to go to her church again back in the town she loves

All this was made possible by brothers and sisters doing the will of God, and by the will of God being made manifest in the hearts of strangers, and by the intervention of Christ answering the prayers of people that love the little old lady as a Christian sister.

Bottom line, my tiny little “work” put me exactly where I could see how Christ looks after those He loves. He showed me that however daunting, complicated, and hopeless the situation, and however helpless the person seems, Jesus is ruler of everything and He owns every atom in whole universe and He is your brother and He will look after you. He showed me there is no need to fret because when you think here is no way, He makes a way. All you need to do is have a bit of faith in your loving brother, Christ. Considering that He has already died for us, I think it’s fair to say we can trust Him! He doesn’t “need” our “help” to help people, but He would really love it if we can, and He will make working alongside him a joyful thing, not as any “reward” but simply because it is a joy to spend time working with out perfectly lovely brother.

I did a tiny tiny thing for Christ. A small tiny thing. In return He gave me something much bigger. He gave me reassurance and reminded me not to fret because there is no need to. He always gives you more than you could possibly imagine, and it’s always wonderfully and exactly what you needed even if you didn’t know you needed it.

Works strengthens faith. Faith is necessary for salvation. On the way, works can also make the lives of others and your own life a whole lot better, which is a nice thing for all. We are in the world, not of the world, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be useful while we are here – we are put here for a purpose.

When you have the reassurance that God will look after you because you are His family (be sure that if He cares about sparrows falling how much more then He cares for you…) then your mind can be at rest. Thus Jesus helped my mind be at rest by providing me with a little work.

I may well be “teaching grannie to suck eggs” by writing this, many of you I am sure know this already, but when Jesus does something as elegantly as He did yesterday, I feel it’s nice to share.

I suggest to accompany this post:

James 2:14-26King James Version (KJV)

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Hey Tyler!

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 09.58.42
Screenshot of a Tyler Oakley video on You Tube.

No Tyler, I do not believe in aliens.
I believe the things people experience as aliens are actually demons.
I believe in Jesus Christ.

While we’re at it, if I’m having a “bad day” personally I have found that looking in a hand mirror is not really part of the solution.
I have however found that looking in a Bible helps.
I also remind myself that Jesus made the day and He doesn’t do “bad days.”

What’s more I have found it doesn’t help me if I choose to speak in a prancing camp affected “gay” accent so that other people get the notion I might be homosexual as if that’s some kind of a great idea. But “Hey Tyler!” – A) I’m not B) it isn’t and C) I’m not in the business of over-representing homosexuality in the media so that people are de-sensitised to it and begin thinking it is a widely prevalent normal and acceptable lifestyle choice that people should feel encouraged to make.

You have spent a lot of time, according to Wikipedia, championing LGBT causes and trying to prevent suicides among LGBT people. Sounds laudable, but maybe the root of this awful problem is really in the one place you don’t want to look.

I don’t “hate you” – boy you sure got a big hang-up on haters don’tcha – but I do find your chirpy syrupy adverts on You Tube intrusive and frankly offensive when I am looking to listen to some nice quiet jazz without having a vampy campy pseudo-kewl pseudo-young (you are 27 now not 17) corporate kiddette (or why else are you an ad on You Tube?) promoting politically correct (biblically incorrect) attitudes and lifestyles that do the very people you think you are helping,  actually I believe a disservice, even for just the four or five seconds it takes to get to the merciful skip button.

No, I really don’t have time to hate you, but I do think maybe I should find time to pray for you. Maybe I can squeeze in some prayer for you every time I find myself  waiting for that button on your videos – prayer is about quality not quantity after all.

I hope Tyler, Jesus gives you a whole wonderful new life real soon. Meanwhile have a nice alien-free day, not a “bad day.”

 

 

We don’t “do” despair.

DSC_6487

One of the great things for Christians is that our faith continually inspires us to hope. We are told always to hope. We don’t “do despair.”

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
                                                                                                                                                 Romans 15:13 (KJV)

You do not need to go to “New Age” quacks waving crystals and chanting “Om” or to some positive thinking guru’s hawking “I can do it” mantras in over-priced books to overcome feeling discouraged and low. No amount of tying yourself in knots doing Yoga and staring into the cit-akãšhã (pronounced chidder karge in case you wonder – meaning the inner mind-space of true awareness – in other words the “screen” of your imagination – a place I can assure you from personal experience that is a place where the devil is only too happy to lay a trap of false visions for you), no amount of staring at that screen, is going to show you to the exit from your problems. The devil is very careful never to give you useful directions. Try escaping with some drugs, some gambling, an adult mindfulness colouring book, a stiff drink, some porn, some weird mysticism, candles, hypnotism, tarot cards, ouija boards… (but never, ever, just a helpful, “Have you asked Jesus?”). What you’ll get are signposts that lead you AWAY from God, AWAY from happiness. They will tell you there is an easy way, a less steep hill. That my friend is however, the road down. Down down down, all the way to hell.

Things that make you go “Hmm” eh?

The truth is you are NOT going to overcome anything on your own and no-one but a Christian is likely to give you the answer you need about where you really can get the help you want. Let’s clarify that. A Christian is not going to tell you what you want to hear, is not going to give you an easy way out. They are going to tell you what you need to know. That is – YOU do not operate in your own strength and you ain’t going nowhere but in the wrong direction if you try to. The road we walk to salvation may be straight and narrow but it can be a very steep hill. Freedom is at the top of a hill. It’s actually so high its all the way up in Heaven. To get there you are going to give it everything you have got – your heart your life your very soul. But you will have an experienced guide beside you. Your sherpa will be Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus knows a thing or two about walking up hard steep hills carrying a heavy load – like Calvary for instance.

There is no promise that it is easy at all in this life, but there is a promise that the victory comes in the next, eternal life. It’s a hard road sometimes, but Jesus knows the way and will guide an help you walk every step of that hard road, IF you will ask Him and let him. I had to do that once in my life big time, and I know He really is there for you, but you do have to ask and trust. It is ALL about faith and faithfulness – and that is a two way street with the Lord. He will always keep his side of the deal, you just gotta trust Him. If you really think about it, is there really anyone else you you CAN trust like Jesus? Maybe your Mom, maybe, but not everyone can say that. Or a wife, or a brother, maybe. But with Christ there’s no maybes. He MADE you, me the universe and everything, and He loves you. He is the ultimate power and there is NOTHING He cannot do. So, isn’t it a no-brainer question? – Who you can really really trust.

On a personal note,  lately I was reminded, just when I needed it, that God is good and has a great plan for me, and I was given some good words of encouragement about how to walk the walk that He has planned out for me. Two well-known people in particular – Joyce Meyer and Paul Begley have published very helpful work. You might find them useful yourself if you are feeling in need of some encouragement. Here are those videos below. Joyce’s has a couple of parts so when you’ve watched #1 do watch #2.

Both Paul and Joyce have great websites –

http://www.paulbegleyprophecy.com

https://www.joycemeyer.org

Here’s what he Bible has to say on the topic of where the strength and power we think we have, really comes from, and so (of course) where we should look for infallible assistance:


For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
                                                                                                                                            Philippians 2:13 (KJV)

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
                                                                                                                                                Zechariah 4:6 (KJV)

And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
                                                                                                                                 Deuteronomy 8:17-18 (KJV)

 

 

Tolerance and Transsexualism

There is a lot said about what Christians believe about sexuality. Mostly it is said by non-Christians with a particular agenda to promote the civil rights of, or simply to promote (yes I did say that) one of a number of non-normative (statistically, and no I didn’t say “normal” I said “normative” so before you “go off on one” please learn the difference between the two words) non-heterosexual  sexualities.

I get the impression that because what many Christians believe about sexuality is not the liberal popular current thinking that holds sway in the developed west (this not in many other parts of the world which in these days of moral relativism are presumably entitled to think differently? <grin>), there is also in the popular mind a notion that Christianity or the Bible (synonymous things in the the popular mind I suggest) has a crude and unsubtle approach to all questions of sexuality.

Actually that isn’t so. The Bible makes distinctions between all sorts of sexualities, and deals with them separately. The Bible distinguishes between gender and sexuality, and in various places the Bible separately addresses transsexuality, homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, incest and adultery. Of this list, transsexuality is the odd one out because it is not a sin. OK now I have surprised you maybe.

There was no direct modern concept of Transsexualism, but the closest and relevant analogue in Biblical terms is certainly the Eunuch.

In Matthew we see that we should accept Eunuchs (a class that in modern times we would understand to include Transsexuals) –

“For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” – Matthew 19:12 (KJV) 

Also we find in Acts 8:26-40 (KJV) the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Eunuch asks if there is any barrier to him being baptised. Philip replies that as long as the Eunuch believes with all his heart he can be baptised, and so the Eunuch gets baptised.

So, both Matthew in his report of Jesus, and Philip’s actions as led by the Holy Spirit, make it quite clear that we are to fully accept Eunuchs (AKA Transsexuals), and no more or less than any other human being. Transsexualism is not a sin and so should be no bar to the person being a full practicing accepted born again Christian whilst they remain a Transsexual. If of course they desire to change and feel that their transsexualism is a medical or mental problem, they can pray and be prayed for in the same way as any other person with a condition in which they seek to have change.

Oh! Did you think I was going to say something about homosexuals? Another time. <grin>

 

Never mind mindfulness, what IS mind?

There is an interesting article in The Daily Beast – “How to mathematically measure consciousness” – about the scientific endeavour to understand the neurological basis of consciousness. When I majored in psychology some years ago my motivation was to understand the root or origin of consciousness. I found enough answers to sate my curiousity and have moved on to other questions, but at that time there was little or no neurological address of the mysteries of consciousness. So, I have followed the growth of the still nascent science of neuropsychology with great interest since those days.

It is not my intention to plagarise the excellently written Daily Beast article so I do recommend you read it. The part of the article that I want to comment on is the part that explains that in quantum physics the act of observation changes what you are looking at, and the article draws the parallel with neuropsychology where looking for the neurological correlates of consciousness may, because the subject has to report the experience as the measurements are made, result in the mechanics of enquiry (reporting) changing the phenomenon (consciousness) being studied.

Now this may just be a coincidental parallel, but I can suggest there are reasons why one should consider things otherwise:

Firstly in the quantum case the observations we know of that affect quantum outcomes are (necessarily)  those that ultimately report back to humans. It seems there is an inescapable link between how reality works and how we perceive it, and the fact that we do perceive it.

Next let me now draw the spiritual parallel. By Him all things consist. God holds it together, God makes it exist. When (not if) He “lets go” everything will fall apart, space itself will roll up like a scroll – we all know about curvature of space eh? Nice clear scientifically accurate language in the Bible there.

We are, it is written, made in God’s image. He affects reality by causing it and holding it together in existence. As beings made in His image, is it any surprise that our observations of reality affect it? That looking at a quantum phenomenon changes it? Really that should be no surprise at all to any person with even a rudimentary understanding of the faboulous science book that is the Bible.

So, questions such as “Is consciousness a quantum phenomenon?” – which I know you are jumping up and down in your seats with raised hands desperate to ask – are somewhat on their heads. The right question is more like “Are a quantum phenomena a result of consciousness?”

We have a lot of circularity there, so clearly we are in a self-referential trap. Let’s find our way out. We often think about mind body spirit as if we are triune in nature (ho ho ho see some parallels there?). Okay, lets run with that. We need to look away from mind and body (the world and the consciousness) to the third element. Let’s see how it works with God and as we are made in His image maybe we will see how it works with us.

If in doubt, look to God – He created it all so He has the answers. More pointedly, not only is He “The Answer” in that very general country pastor homily kind of way (nothing wrong with that by the way), but He is the answer (the specifc one we are looking for) to our science question. God is a consciousness and He has a soul. As well as in Genesis hovering on waters, God’s soul gets a mention in Leviticus 26:11 – And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. This world and our minds are two sides of the same coin, they interact so intimately in a circular way you have to look outside that reality/mind circular loop for the cause of it’s existence. If you look to the soul to provide that answer you are reminded to look to that ultimate soul that we are made in the image of.

We are not a flesh image of a flesh God, our minds which arise created and sustained by God – the world of quantum phenomena and its atoms that comprise that flesh and emergent minds – are not mind images of God. That which truly comprises us is our soul. Our soul is that which God made in His image. We are soul images of God.

Our soul is that which powers and sustains our particle of mind/quantum interaction that we so easily mistake for our essence.
We are IN this world but we are not OF this world.

Things that get said more than once in the Bible are really really important so note this extract from John 17 (KJV) well:

13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

He is talking about YOU. You, the bit that is really you, not the body that if you lose an arm or a leg you are still you, not the mind you that dies every night and is resurrected every morning, but the soul you, the real you that powers the mind-body illusion of you that scientists are finding it hard to study. As God powers this world “illusion” that we are in (no the world is real because God makes it so but you get my drift), so those images of God that are our souls power the mix of our minds and the quantum phenomena that science is trying to grasp.

And here’s a thing: When you consider a child affected by Zika virus with ancephaly or anyone with mental or physical disability – and have the temerity to question why God made that child or to think about murdering a foetus by abortion that in world terms might be considered imperfect (and just who among us is perfect eh – cast the first stone!) – look beyond the mind and body to the soul and see the real value of that person and know God has a purpose for them that you cannot fathom, so show some love and respect to God’s creation of that brother or sister of the triune you and your triune creator.

You and they are more wonderful than you think, you are indeed more wonderful than your thinking, and more wonderful than you are capable of thinking. Fortunately you are not your thoughts, you are your soul. You are exactly as wonderful as God spoke you into being, and as His image, exactly as wonderful as Him.