The 1/2 empty or 1/2 full glass

by Andrea Elizabeth

Take this famous pessimist/optimist test. There’s a lot of pressure and guilt to be a half full person. Just be thankful there’s water! I asked my daughter one time why Millennial songs are so pessimistic but with an upbeat tempo? She said Millennials are realists, but if you act sad or depressed you’re labeled as messed up and that something is wrong with you.

I want to know why the glass isn’t filled up, because a glass is made a certain size to hold a certain amount of water with a little room at the top to prevent spillage. Additionally, Christians are promised an overflowing amount of water. Appreciating the half full and ignoring the half empty is artificially hyping yourself up to unrealistically experience fullness when there is actually half-fullness. Yes a very thirsty person will be very glad to find a half full glass of water, but he will also want the other half.

If you ask a waiter to refill your water and he only fills it up half-way, you’ll naturally experience rancor and wonder if he’s playing some sort of twisted joke. You ask him why and he says, “well you’ve finished your meal, so I didn’t think you needed more than that and didn’t want to waste.” He’s obviously overstepped his bounds by not minding his own business but yours. His business is to fill, not half fill, water glasses, and not to nosily analyze how much he can leave unfilled.

Or if you filled your water glass, leave the room, and come back to find it half-filled, I don’t think appreciation should be mandated. It’s time to call Miss Marple or Ghost-busters, not the Hallelujah Squad.

Or if right in front of you the cat comes up and knocks your full glass over and you catch it so that only half spills, are we really supposed to praise the situation? If it was an exceptionally good catch and the likelihood of evaporation just reached capacity and not the likelihood of mold or an embarrassing stain, then a certain amount of relief is to be experienced. Otherwise, it’s like telling a hurting person things could be worse. Yes, context is used to gauge and control a grief response, but grief should be given its proper due! It’s ok to cry. Just not over spilt milk.

happiness, idealism and death

by Andrea Elizabeth

I deleted half a post on my other blog, which I wrote during post-epic trip blues while dealing with several times that “I died that day”, as the Princess Bride said. It was also about how I’ve made a sort of peace with “get[ting] used to disappointment”, as Wesley said. And about how I’m not a saint because I don’t have lively joy, but have settled for peace. One reason is that to be joyful is to submit to the belief that those bad times were necessarily that way and for the greater good. To be bitter and angry is the other extreme where you hate God and life for cheating you out of what should have been yours. For me, to have peace is to recognize that things have gone wrong, but will be made right in heaven, and probably not on earth. Joy would be if they were right/perfect right now.

Therefore Saints are happy with the future/death and don’t mind that the present isn’t that way yet, because they are not passionately attached to it. I still mind, but I’m almost done with my temper tantrum.

Idealism is being deluded that things are right right now, but at least they believe in things being right.

Some people are happy with things being wrong. They are the, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, “you’re only human”, “you only live once”, “I’ll enable your sin if you enable mine”, “things are exactly as God originally intended” type people.

I’m more happy in nature where things are righter than than they are amongst men, which is probably because of me, so I still have some purging to do.

Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.

– St. Isaac the Syrian

Fascinating interview with William Dembski on the relationship of miracles to the physical world

by Andrea Elizabeth


Steam punk without the steam

by Andrea Elizabeth

I think Roy Underhill from The Woodwright’s Shop is my closest person to a kindred spirit as far as technology goes. I like engineering that makes work easier so that you can do harder things, but without fuel driven engines. Wind up clocks, levers, and bicycle chains are genius to me. But can a blacksmith make these machines using only a fire? Apparently not. (Addendum: What about the ancient Antikythera mechanism?

“The gear teeth were in the form of equilateral triangles with an average circular pitch of 1.6 mm, an average wheel thickness of 1.4 mm and an average air gap between gears of 1.2 mm. The teeth probably were created from a blank bronze round using hand tools; this is evident because not all of them are even.[6] Due to advances in imaging and X-ray technology it is now possible to know the precise number of teeth and size of the gears within the located fragments. Thus the basic operation of the device is no longer a mystery and has been replicated accurately. The major unknown remains, the question of the presence and nature of any planet indicators.[31]:8″)

Water and wind mills are ok, but big, loud, polluting engines and machines are not. I suppose if I go back to before the industrial revolution I’d have to develop more muscles to be able to canoe the Brazos the 20 mile stretch Rachel and I kayaked with high tech, fast propelling human-power pedals in one day Tuesday. It’s a trip I researched for a couple of months before conditions were perfect to actually do it. I wrote about our epic adventures yesterday in installments on my I’d Rather Be Hiking blog. Here’s the first post, second, third, fourth, and fifth.

Our trip was also dependent on gps navigation, speed tracking, texting in the two spots with coverage, and machine made waterproof cellphone, beverage and food containers.

It’s one thing to have designated locations to pollutedly produce tools that don’t themselves pollute, but another to produce things like gas engines that each individual will use in all locations.

Since I do like my cell phone and Mirage Drives, I suppose I want them produced in more environmentally friendly ways with more efficient ways of producing power like ugly solar panels and bird and fish killing wind and tide driven propellers. But if people used high tech human powered tools then there would be less need for these power sources which would be smaller and there would be less of them. Such as if my pedal power could generate my phone. Exercise bike driven household appliances is a bit boring for me, but if you could generate a battery by biking on a trail that would then be charged enough to power your home, then nature trails would be seen less as a luxury for the leisure class and more like productive work so that restoring and making land available for nature trails would be seen as valuable to conservatives as well as liberals, the poor and the rich. We would all become more power-conscious too and not use it so extravagantly, and everyone would be healthier so there would be less medical bills for obese people with clogged arteries and thus cheaper insurance for everyone.

I suppose that I’m a techno evolutionist who believes we can progress out of the awkward, ugly stage of technology.

I’m going to give primitivity another shot though by reading John Grave’s book that’s been on my shelf all of my life called, Goodbye to a River. Here’s the Amazon review:

“In the 1950s, a series of dams was proposed along the Brazos River in north-central Texas. For John Graves, this project meant that if the stream’s regimen was thus changed, the beautiful and sometimes brutal surrounding countryside would also change, as would the lives of the people whose rugged ancestors had eked out an existence there. Graves therefore decided to visit that stretch of the river, which he had known intimately as a youth.

Goodbye to a River is his account of that farewell canoe voyage. As he braves rapids and fatigue and the fickle autumn weather, he muses upon old blood feuds of the region and violent skirmishes with native tribes, and retells wild stories of courage and cowardice and deceit that shaped both the river’s people and the land during frontier times and later. Nearly half a century after its initial publication, Goodbye to a River is a true American classic, a vivid narrative about an exciting journey and a powerful tribute to a vanishing way of life and its ever-changing natural environment.”

Wikipedia adds, “The book is acclaimed as a work of both conservationism and history and has been compared to Walden by Henry David Thoreau.”

Fight Club

by Andrea Elizabeth

So if you weren’t disturbed enough by this movie does that mean you’ve crossed the line or that you’ve made peace with yourself?

Romans 11

by Andrea Elizabeth

This chapter starts out by saying some of Israel have been blinded and a remnant preserved so as to motivate and make room for the Gentiles. Then St Paul says they can be grafted back in. He doesn’t say they were chosen for eternal damnation.

For the Love of Money

by Andrea Elizabeth

I just caught Tavis Smiley’s interview of Sam Polk about his book on leaving a successful career on Wallstreet called For the Love of Money. He is now a philanthropist who helps poor people eat nutritious food. The review within the above link says he does not mention religion when he describes an essentially spiritual awakening. 

Some Christians may believe his silence does not mean he is not privately a Christian as only Christians can be loving and unselfish. What the reviews say caused his eye opening is Reality and Life. A life coach and counseling helped him overcome his addictions, including to money, and to reconcile with his family. He believes not seeing people on the other side of the tracks as other but getting to know them as friends, while acknowledging different roots and thus opportunities, is key. 

I believe non Christians can be open to this type of reality. Are they performing fruitless works that do not count towards salvation? I don’t think so. Seems he meets the criteria for not being a goat to me. 

I’m wondering if what St Paul describes as fruitless works are symbolic purification laws that are believed to magically get you in. Where the state of the selfish heart behind it is ignored, and the belief that the ability to prettily say certain words and wash one’s hands in a certain ritual way will bring prestige and power over others.

Romans 10

by Andrea Elizabeth

“Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

As we sing every Liturgy,

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, O Son of God who art risen from the dead, save us who sing, Allelujah, Allelujah, Allelujah.

But it’s not the only thing we sing.

The Life of Pi

by Andrea Elizabeth

was more interesting and beautiful than I expected. Spoiler* it made a disturbing story palatable. The question is which is the better story, the symbolic one or the facts? The guy representing the audience says the symbolic one. I’m wondering if it is because it paints the people more sympathetically. I think the murdering cook acting like a hyena seems too hard on the hyena and maybe too soft on the cook. Hyenas eat according to their established food chain. Predator animals may be the result of the fall but they also are part of the natural order. Mankind doesn’t get such a pass. Especially against our own species. I saw a nature show where a mother snowy owl seemed to let one of her weaker babies who had strayed from her warmth stay in the cold just long enough to pass the point of no return before she nestled it. As if she decided just to comfort it as it died before letting the other babies eat it. I wonder if it was hard for her to watch it suffer and listen to its cries.

Romans 9

by Andrea Elizabeth

The great Jacob have I loved Esau have I hated chapter that the Calvinists use. Mainly because of this: “Rom 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)”

Why could it not be of foreknowledge instead? Did not Jacob desire God’s blessing more than Esau? Did not Esau throw away his birthright for a bowl of soup? Did not Jacob have more faith? Nowhere does it say God made Jacob more zealous than Esau. It shows that God gave the inheritance/showed mercy to the one that had more faith proved by action. He was not bound by the law of the firstborn. We don’t have to totally dis Paul’s parenthetical though. God called and Jacob responded. Nowhere does it imply Jacob’s will was forced. Was Esau’s heart hardened? No, all it says is that he hungered for fleshly food more than spiritual. 

It does say Pharoah’s heart was hardened. Here’s one out to Calvinist dogma, Paul may have been speculating: “9:22 What if God”

Orthodox have a more nuanced view of inspiration and what hardened means. What if God inspired someone who does not seek him to go further in his actions than he might left to himself? It seems to me sometimes I make bigger mistakes than I intend for perhaps a different reason than I am aware of. Perhaps someone else needed to succeed instead. It’s not all about me. But my ultimate desire is for God to be glorified and his will, not my temporal one, to be done.


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