Sunday, December 31, 2006
I've pulled out several quotes for reflection and suspect others can do the same. Buy it, read it, borrow it, read it. It's worth having in your library.
A new delivery place opened up. I was excited, since a little more variety is always welcome. But they left their brochures on my counter without asking so I was wondering just why they were messing up my place. But I decided to order anyway since they had Stromboli which no one else had. I called up and said I wanted a delivery order. I asked for one sandwich and was told that it was below the minimum of $8.00, so I decided to order two sandwiches. Then I was asked for my address and when I mentioned the hotel.... no longer did I have an $8.00 minimum. It was now $20.00. So I canceled my order.
Even for a guest I think it's a bad decision to place a larger minimum for a hotel. And though they didn't know I worked at the hotel, it's an even worse decision to upset the manager. Guests come in, they ask for a recommendation. The number of orders from a motel is going to be greater than any individual house. Guess waht. It's a bad business decision, since I'm irritable and I can bring in a couple more customers than any apartment or house.
Oh well, I went to a place that has stopped doing my favorite pasta salad, but continues with a wonderful mushroom burger. I am going to pay them a delivery fee, but it's worth it to get only what I can eat.
And oh, guess who I'm going to recommend next time someone asks for something other than a pizza delivery place.
Cold fusion was a very popular idea. One experiment seemed to show that it happened, but then it couldn't be repeated. Science isn't about miracles or one time happenings. Science is about what can be repeated, show to happen again and again.
Reparative therapy still remains popular in some circles, but the problem is the people who espouse it don't do any clear testing of whether it works. And the other major scientific and psychological organizations look at study after study that shows that it doesn't work. Science is about peer review and repeated study. If something brings more psychological problems than benefits then it can't become a scientific theory, if you change the meaning of words to make your study work, then it's not science. Reparative therapy had a wonderful time when it was cutting edge and was presumed to work. Changes in behavior happened. But, though it took longer than cold fusion time after time it was shown not to work and not to help.
Intelligent Design is the latest attempt of creationism to mix religion and science to the detriment of both. The biggest problem that it posits an outside creator. There is a wink, wink, nudge, nudge, oh it could be an alien, but everyone who supports Intelligent Design believes that it is a Creator God. But science isn't about the supernatural. Science isn't about God. Science works with facts and replicability and falsifiability. Science limits itself to the natural world. And while as a religious person I believe that God is in the natural and supernatural, God is also subtle enough that we don't necessarily see the work that God is doing.
Plate tectonics is one of those theories (now it is a theory in the scientific sense) that was dismissed when it first came up as an idea. But the scientists used their idea to figure out tests for falsifiability. And when those tests didn't prove the idea wrong they wrote papers that were peer-reviewed. And then they went and figured out more wast to test for falsifiability and published the results of those tests in peer-reviewed journals. They didn't start with popularizing their point of view. They didn't send preachers and teachers to teach the controversy. They did the hard work of testing and verifying and asking if this is so what facts should we be able to find.
Intelligent Design proponents and reparative therapy supporters aren't willing to do that hard work. While some of them publish in peer reviewed journals, they don't publish on the ideas of Intelligent Design and Reparative Therapies. While some of them cite works that have been published in peer-reviewed journals, they seem to get called by the researchers they quote for misusing and misstating the evidence. They fail for the same reason cold fusion failed, what they suggest isn't replicable or falsifiable. They just have some supporters who don't listen to the evidence and keep parroting tired old myths as if repetition proves their point.
Science is about looking at the evidence and changing the theory to fit the evidence. Proponents of Intelligent Design and reparative therapies are about twisting the evidence to fit their beliefs. For them I quote from Augustine in The Literal Meaning of Genesis.
even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. Â… If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books.
Could someone talk about how they see the world as "saved," or "being saved." It looks severly "unsaved" to me, tragic, a mess, unredeemed.
This quesiton came to me as I was going about my work and my answer was:
As I understand it the salvation has happened. It happened in the life, death and resurrection of the one who was fully human and fully divine. But that doesn't mean that we can see or experience the affects of that salvation. We are in the here, but not yet - the birth pangs - the war has been won, but not everyone has laid down the weapons - the climax has happened but the wrapping up of the story - the denoument - is still going on. And these are all analogies and metaphors and attempts to explain what I cannot fully express in owrds, but still feel and believe.
Yet that answer, and any answer I can give, remains incomplete. I would love to be able to explain how this wolrd that has been saved and redeemed from sin is still such a sinful place. Where people go hungry and unclothed, where the stranger and the one who is different is dispised, where the poor are oppressed and the rich walk over others the realm of God seems far away. But in the midst of this the widow puts a coin in the offering for charity, abalnd man listens for someone who can't hear while the one who is deaf watches for one unable to see. The one who is told that he has no family because he is gay cares for the other dying of AIDS and in the midst of this pain and suffering and rejection the Christ is found.
And at the last day some will be told that they didn't meet the one the claimed to have served (Matthew 25:31ff.) and others will find that they met their Savior in unexpected faces and places. (Luke 24:13ff.)
Snake oil medicine scams are alive and well in this century. Patent medicines may have changed their form, but the sales pitch still goes on.
There are some signs to watch out for.
1. If it sounds to good to be true, then it is.
2. If the book saying that this remedy works for that disease is next
to the product, but the product isn't labeled as being that sort of remedy, then
it doesn't work.
One or the other of those symptoms is found in scams as to the curative powers of this or that product. If someone isn't willing to spend the money to go through FDA approval it is because the product won't be able to meet standards of scientific proof. Or, in other words, it just doesn't work. One can, and I have, complain about different aspects of federal approval, but it is a safety net that works most of the time. That the FDA is slow and cumbersome is a problem, but it is more of a problem when claims are made that cannot be verified and people are tricked into using products that don't work and may even harm.
You don't have to be a scientist in order to figure out whether a product is worht your time. Just a little sense will help. Miracle cures aren't and going through some sort of review works. It's as simple as those two steps.
loving as He loves,
helping as He helps,
giving as He gives,
serving as He serves,
rescuing as He rescues,
being with Him for all the twenty-four hours,
touching Him in His distressing disguise.
Mother Teresa in _A Gift for God_
We can do better and we are called to do better. But we cannot do better unless we face the ways in which we have failed to be a light to the world and, more than that, face the ways in which we in the USA have been a force for darkness.
I sorrow not for the death of Saddam Hussein, but for what we have done before that death happened.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
This one contained phrases like 'semitic Jew' and 'Homosexual Attorney's wife' that would have clued me into problems with the thinking behind it even if I hadn't noticed the poor grammar, the convoluted sentences, the lack of paragraphs, and the extremely small print.
The problem with these sorts of messages is that they proclaim that they are Christian when they are further from the Christ they proclaim than the east is from the west. They blame others - unnamed others who are just derogatory descriptions - instead of looking at what they can do. The lies, distortions, misstatements are symptomatic of someone who cannot take responsibility but wants others to blame.
And sometimes others are to blame. But if a three page manifesto can't name names, then it is not the fault of the 'other' but the fault of the writer.
Yet it is a pleasure to turn dirty linens and terry into fresh, neat piles. And even when those piles disappear while I'm unloading the next dryer, even then, I feel like I've accomplished something for the day.
And so I take pleasure in the little things, even if I do more of them than I really ever figured I do.
I was on the phone when the aforementioned employee came in. The employee asked a question right after saying 'hello' and I waved her off. I continued working with the customer and heard another question from behind me and I waved the employee off again. I was saying goodby when I heard one more question. I hung up the phone and said, in a sharp tone, "Please don't ask me questions while I'm on the phone. You did this three times. Wait until I'm finished." And then I heard, "but I only asked one question."
So now I am beginning to think that this employee is not only not hearing what I say, but also blind to what they're doing. And if I have to terminate this employee I wonder if I'll hear, "but what did I do wrong?"
And I've seen bad managers - I've lived under some of them - who don't state clearly how they want things done, but.... I don't think this is the case this time. As deluded as I can be about my abilities the fact is that I've trained people in this operation before and I'm not doing anything different. I'm adding things day by day as the employee gets the first things down. I'm working not to give everything at once so that they're overloaded or too little so that they don't learn.
But, in this case, everything I say is met with 'Oh I know how to do that.' and then going about it their way rather than my way. Or 'No one ever told me and how can you blame me for not doing it this way' when I'm not blaming I'm trying to teach. And more.
I'll admit that there are better ways to do things than the way I'm doing them now - and if you ask I'll probably change. But I do want things done my way, or the owner's way, or the health inspector's way - we've been doing this for years. I'll freely admit that I can make mistakes in training, but when every time (or what seems like every time) I try to teach the way I want things done I get - oh, I know how or I never was told that - then I'm frustrated and think it's not my teaching, but the hearing.
I could be wrong, but I'm checking on it. And if I'm not, then my employee may not last very long. I can work with people willing to learn, but I can't work with those who don't listen to what they hear.
Friday, December 29, 2006
But this week I got a compliment - someone mentioned how much work I'd done for them - and I thought I was just doing what was helpful. I lent out a snow shovel and found a deck of cards during our snowstorm. They really didn't need to thank me. And then they mailed the cards back to me. I got that deck as a promotional item for sending in some box tops. Really, the postage was more than the cost of the cards. Most of the people who come through are grateful for that and I am more than happy to do those little things.
And then there was the couple who saw me working a couple of extra hours during the snowstorm and brought back a hamburger. They also offered to share some beer - I refused - with much regret - and more because I'd been awake so many hours I thought I'd really fall asleep with any alcohol in me. I may have a high tolerance, but that doesn't mean anything when I'm half-delirious from too many hours at work.
Then there are all the people who were just happy to have a place to sleep last week and didn't mind at all when I slipped notes under their doors saying that my housekeepers wouldn't be in and to just ask at the front desk for more towels or let me know if they wanted more cleaning. The only rooms I cleaned were those of the check-outs.
So most of the time I have a great deal to be thankful for when working with my guests. And then I get some great stories out of the times that I'm not so thankful for some of the people, so it evens out in the end.
the stars shine over the sea,
The stars look up to the mighty God,
the stars look down on me;
The stars shall last for a million years,
a million years and a day,
But God and I will live and love
when the stars have passed away.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Stanley Hauerwas, quoted in _Context_, 9/15/89
But still.... Someone just came in and asked me to help him find the hotel where he was booked. I'm happy to do that, but there was a little problem. He didn't know whether it was Denver or one of the suburbs, nor did he have a phone number, nor did he have a name. He did however have the street address - just the street, not the town.
But we were able to help him. And, hopefully, he's on his way twentyfive miles straight south of here with interstate the whole way.
Before depression I never thought about being unhappy or happy. I felt the emotions and went on with life. But since depression I monitor both. If I'm unhappy I check how long it's been and wonder if I'm heading back into depression. When I'm happy I give thanks more often as I wonder if it's going to slip away It's not that the emotions have changed as much as my reactions to the emotions.
I suspect much of this is because I'm an introvert. I naturally spend more time in my head than in the moment. But some of it does have to do with a desire not to go back to depression or a fear of returning to depression (and they are the same thing for the most part).
I remember people saying things like 'you're a pastor and so you shouldn't be in depression - your faith should be stronger' or 'your mother is in a better place why are you depressed over her death' and for all those people I want to say - 'wait until you've experienced it and then tell me those things.'
My mother's death was the trigger for my depression and, because of the circumstances, it was one of the healthier reactions. Yet there are several on both sides of my family who have been diagnosed with depression and that suggests that it is a little easier for us to slip into the disease. It's not a lack of faith that led to a depression, but a trauma that overwhelmed all my defenses. Faith is what kept me thinking there could be a way out, even as I could see nothing changing. And as for those who think that my mother being in a better place - I do believe she is with the saints in glory - that still doesn't mean that I don't miss her. And her death, as she was blossoming into a new career, in an accident, at the same time as another family death, when I was driving, and a couple of other circumstances, was a trigger of my depression for many more reasons than just her death.
Depression is a disease. The more I read about it reveals that there are a multitude of factors that mean it's not all in the head. I don't recommend the experience. But do ask for care for those who are in the midst of depression. It doesn't go away without a lot of help and work.
Henri Nouwen in the _New Oxford Review_ (April,1987)
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Where does being a good Christian involve stealing from one's employer?
But they don't see it like that. The good Lord needs them to do it and their employer has all of these supplies sitting around or they have time during their work hours or .... and since it is for the Lord they should just get it done.
I wish I could say this was an unusual intepretation of what it means to be a good Christian, but I can't. And so we have those for whom Christianity becomes something they will never do, becasue of the actions of so-called Christians which deny the very one they claim to worship.
Or as Karl Rahner says -
The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.
Karl Rahner, quoted in _The Wittenburg Door_, June/July, 1988
At least it felt like a long time. At this point she wasn’t sure how long. She vaguely remembered happy times. But it was as if those happy times were through ten feet of cotton candy and her life now. She could see herself laughing in some photos, but couldn’t figure out what that felt like. Yes, she had been happy, but not in a long, long time.
Her living room and kitchen were immaculate. But that was because she didn’t have the energy to leave them messy. When she ate – everything was cleaned and put away before she fell asleep. And she didn’t buy any food that might go bad. The dried milk she kept on hand didn’t taste all that good when she made it up for the meal – it was supposed to sit – but when she had the energy to eat and clean up she wanted to do it then. If she waited any time her burst of energy would be long gone and then there’s be the dishes to clean and they’d sit. She’d done that before when she’d tried to wait. And the dishes would sit with the big round eye of a plate accusing her of not doing anything and her mind quivering with the blows of unmet expectations. And she just couldn’t face the unwashed dishes one more time. So she made the dried milk up and drank it before it had cooled and as the horrid taste went down – thought – at least I got something in my body one more time.
And at times it was a moment-by-moment decision to keep on existing in such pain. She’d started treatments but so far none of them had worked. And she lived in pain. And she could no longer remember what it had been like before she lived in pain. And the treatments – try this drug and it will take two to six weeks before it works – you’ve been taking it for eight weeks and there’s no change, then stop taking the drug and in two weeks will try another drug – seemed futile. And every day longer until each day seemed like years.
They called it depression – she called it pain.
And she lived with it.
Today she was curled up in bed. Her book club was at noon, but she hadn’t read the book and she wasn’t sure she could go because she didn’t want people to know that she hadn’t read the book. It was six in the morning and the book had arrived. The package was sitting next to her bed. But she’d only opened it enough to see the spine and then had let it lie there, accusing her, saying she should just reach out and begin reading it, letting her know how worthless she was since she couldn’t reach over there. Instead she tossed and turned and even when she wasn’t looking at the book the thought of it ate at her, the acid of not getting it done rising up in her throat and burning so that she couldn’t sleep, but couldn’t pick up the book.
And she thought – I could call Angie, but I’ve already made too many excuses for not reading the books. And I’ve called her too many times. And if I keep calling her she might not want to hear from me again. And I don’t want her to see me like this. And maybe I just won’t go, but I’ve missed too many meetings already. And it’s too early to call her, but I’ve missed too many meetings, or I’ve been to them and not read the book and I just can’t do it, but I don’t want to miss the meeting and the book is sitting right over there so if I start reading now I could at least pretend to know what the book is saying, but I can’t concentrate enough to read and besides my comments aren’t as good as those of the other people and can’t be since I haven’t read the book and the books been sitting there for two weeks but I just haven’t had the energy, but I’m perfectly fine so I should have read the book and then I wouldn’t have to call Angie and cancel but I still haven’t cancelled so I could go but then I’d be unprepared and everyone would see what a mess I am.
And it was six-fifteen in the morning and she did not have the energy to get out of bed or to grab the book and yet she was tossing and turning and wondering if she could get out of bed today.
Once upon a time she thought that she would have thought nothing about getting out of bed. And she wondered why it seemed so hard to do, but it did. She was wrapped in a cocoon of frustration and anger and despair and it was torturing her to move and sit up and swing her legs over the bed and she dreaded the day and what would come and what would happen and whether she could actually do something. And she thought, I’ve got a doctor’s appointment today so I don’t need to actually go to the book club. I can tell them I’m waiting and they’ll understand and then I don’t need to read the book, but I do want to read the book and I do want to keep up with things, but how can I keep up with things when I can’t concentrate on anything and it takes so much energy and I’ve been up since 6am and I just can’t get out of bed and I used to be able to get out of bed in the morning but it seems like so much work.
And then her thoughts became, not incoherent, only of the pain. At times it was throbbing like when she’d had a migraine, at other times it was just there as a haze that covered everything so that she could barely take a breath and those times she dreaded the return of the throbbing with every movement and noise and during the throbbing she dreaded the return of a persistent ache so that neither was a relief from the other. The pain remained.
It sounds so simple, she thought, when the pain had gone. It sounds so simple to get up and do something. And yet all I can do is lie there until it passes.
And it was around eleven so she got up and called Angie to tell her that she was too sick to go to the book club.
And she lay back down to rest. How long those sessions lasted was irrelevant. Five minutes/ Five hours/ Five days she was in pain. And she could see no end.
She’d heard that some in her situation were tempted to suicide, but that held no attraction. Could she be certain that it would relieve the pain? Could she be certain that it would be final? Might not she wake up to even worse – though she couldn’t imagine how – pain? The questions ran through her mind, but found no purchase as all available centers were taken up by pain and longing for something different, some escape.
If there was a light at the end of the tunnel, it was a train coming to meet her. And the tunnel had no end.
She was in a pit. And the sides were soft so she could get no hold. And when she tried to pile the dirt up so she could stand a little closer to the top all it did was fade into the rest of the dirt and she felt soiled and unkempt and still couldn’t see any way out. No glimmer of light appeared at the top of the pit whether it was day or night.
There were times when there was neither pain nor agony – they were few – but they were there. But those times she felt nothing. And she wondered, she wondered then, if she were still alive.
In the nothingness that was in-between the pain she couldn’t imagine what it was like to go through life feeling something other than that pain. And when she wasn’t feeling anything she felt dead. And while being dead was comfortable – more comfortable than the pain – it wasn’t where she had been, though she couldn’t see how to get any other place. And she wasn’t sure she had the energy to go any other place.
The pain ruled. And when there wasn’t pain there was nothing left. And when there was pain there wasn’t anything else she could do except feel the pain.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
First off, the fact that our genetic code is the same doesn't mean that the same genetic factors are working. It is clear fact that different genetic threads will switch on or off even in genetically identical humans, animals and plants.
Second, even in the womb the environment between my twin and I differed. Even with a 'Y' shaped umbilical cord, as my twin and I had, the environment can differ. And according to some sources there is more chance of a difference than if we had separate umbilical cords.
My twin brother and I are a lot alike. Our voices are similar. Our body type is the same. And more.
My twin brother and I have differences. We have different responses to allergies. We had different responses to puberty. I finished college and graduate school. He's within a few credits of finishing college and has kept that up for over twenty years.
Genetics and environment work together to produce a person. There are some genetic factors that allow for choices and some environmental factors that determine outcomes. To just say, "Oh, you're identical and that explains it" doesn't really explain anything."
A Prayer to the Faith Based
I’m sorry, and I don’t mean to offend
And you didn’t even ask for this but
I’m going to put in a plug for your beliefs
So that you won’t get too mad at me as I utter words
With which you or someone you know may not agree,
(No matter how utterly wrong you may happen to be)
It is good that you are religious
And I will personally defend your right to believe
Whatever it is you do in fact believe,
And I affirm that it is OK to put
Phrases regarding your beliefs on my money
And for you to assume thatI will swear to your god
when I am on jury
when I am drafted into the army
when I am elected to office
when I am in the witness standand
whenever else I must affirm
that I am moral and will not lie.
i Will Capitalize Your Word for
And the Name of Your Holy Book
And Other Entities and Documents
As You Dictate These Rules To me.
I offer this pandering to your particular beliefs,
regardless of what they may happen to be,
despite the fact that your cultural ancestors,
the mavens and leaders of one church or another,
burned at the stake or otherwise humiliated mine,
The early scientists and freethinkers,
I affirm this because I cannot at the moment
Remember where I put my spine.
I saw it first at Pharyngula, but it came from Greg Gladen. Thanks for the prayer.
Sigmund Freud, The Future of an illusion
Much is made of the unlikelihood of certain events. But being unlikely is not the same as being impossible. And in a large universe - as is admitted by both sides - there is the likelihood that even events with very small probabilities will happen somewhere. So being unlikely is not a measure of intelligent design. It is a measure of the vast universe.
This is just one of the reasons that one doesn't have to be able to follow the math in intelligent design in order to figure out where it goes wrong.
Yes, we can do great things, but we should keep in mind the essentials of faith are not about deeds and wonders, but about the spirit in which we do things. Yes, it would be nice if we could count on being saved through the number of churches we built or the success of a fund-raising campaign or something else that is visible and seen by the whole world. But the eyes of God are not on the outside of a person, but on the inside. The hands of God don't care for the materials used, but the love shown. It's not the things we do but the presence we bring.
What will it profit a man if he gains his cause, and silences his adversary,
if at the same time he loses that humble tender frame of spirit in which the Lord
delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made!
It would be so much easier if we could count up the tasks. But the tasks are as we do our daily duty and the daily duties are a response to what God has already done. And our response is to share that good news rather than to try to earn our way into being worthy of that salvation. For we will never complete enough tasks or take on enough duties to earn our way to heaven. We can only accept the gift of that life, death, and resurrection which saved the world.
John Newton, from _The Letters of John Newton_
"I am a Christian. My mind is closed to falsehood. A falsehood is anything
that contridicts my belief. If you show me where in the Bible it says evolution
occured I will become an evolutionist. That is the only way I will ever become
1SuprJesusFreak, Kyle Givler Teens' Board
I read this and immediately flashed to something from Augustine - a passage I think of often in these cases.
In his work on The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Augustine writes that: even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses ofthe sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. … If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books.
Martin Luther's _Table Talk_
With a quote attributed to Tolstoy saying 'that the actual value of a person is like a fraction wherein the numerator indicates the person's achievements and talents, where the denominator indicates what the person thinks of himself.' used to indicate that Dembski's value is nearly zero (p. 106) and a statement that "The result is a seemingly very sophisticated theory, which may be impressive to those who find in it a confirmation of their preconceived convictions, but which nevertheless has so many holes and inconsistencies that it is overall meaningless." it can be said that the art of scourging bad work is not dead.
Dembski's failure to remain as an expert witness in Katzmiller vs. Dover - even though he was deposed - speaks volumes for his ability to stand up and meet criticism. In his own publications he is fierce, but when it comes to public discourse and peer review he seems to flee any true debate or adjudication.
Intelligent Design fails.
Mark Perakh, Unintelligent Design (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2003).
Monday, December 25, 2006
Morris L. West in _The Shoes of the Fisherman_
Their experiences with worse led them to settle for the better. But there is still the best for which we should aim. Today we do the same with racism and more. We can see how much better we are than in some other places in the world and want to settle. But we should be asking the question of where should we be rather than how much better are we than those others. There are certainly times when we need to be grateful for what is, but that should not blind us to where we should be.
The Christian life, as Paul puts it, is one of training for a race. We are not satisfied with our present condition but are preparing for something in the future. We shouldn't settle for being partially trained, but look towards the completion of the training. Yes, we have come far. And we have further to go. So let us continue the path until God's realm is at hand seeking not just for what is adequate, but for the best.
D. T. Niles in _That They May Have Life_
One of my favorite authors is Diana Wynne Jones. Most of her output is for children and high school, but there are a few books for adults. "Deep Secrets" is the book I'm reading today. It's a romp through growing up and finding talents with a couple of digs (kindly meant) at science fiction and fantasy fans. Since I'm on my second copy, I suspect it's one I'll keep re-reading for years.
I think the word for this is chutzpah. It's like throwing oneself on the mercy of the court because one is an orphan - though one murdered their parents. Certainly one can say a quick prayer over one's meal, or when a fellow worker is causing problems, or for many other things. But when one goes to the extent of anointing a fellow workers area - that is damaging the employers property - and calling a co-worker 'demonically posseses' - that is harassment. It's not the same thing as being fired for one's religion, gender or age - which is what the lawsuit claims.
This is not being a martyr for one's faith. This is holding up Christianity for ridicule because of pure and simple idiocy. This is not spreading the faith or healing the sick, it is making a mockery of another human being and the faith one claims to profess.
And to appeal a firing is chutzpah. And I can't think of a word to indicate the lawyers who took on this case - ambulance chaser doesn't quite do it.
Our good dishes weren't saved for special ocassions, they were used to make the ocassion special and used often. And yes, they were used from the time we were very small. Mom's good dishes were a set that dad had brought back from Japan after WWII. He bought three sets - one for each of his sisters and the last for his future bride - and all of them used the sets regularly. And so we took pleasure in the small things.
Now it is also true that the dishes got broken. I remember them on the table as some of my earliest memories. And then as we began helping around the house I remember breaking some doing the dishes. And after we were in college mom found a place to replace the dishes and spent more on the few replacements than dad had for the whole set. And it was worth it for her, because we had the memories.
And I applaud my mother's wisdom, since I have the memories and not just the dishes.
But really I wonder who responds to such drivel. I certainly like extra money, but at what price? That of integrity or the ability to have a meaningful discussion? I don't think so. And I've never been a fan of the sly 'here's a story and we both know it's dirty but we won't say so' form of discourse. If it's dirty or pornographic or sexualized or whatever just say so and move on. Just don't patronize me or making the loveliness of sex - a gift from God - into something less than it can be.
And so I turned on the spam filter in spite of my wanting to be a more open forum.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
And there were more lies. Several claimed they'd never mentioned the word creationism or its cognates. Though those words were repeatedly reported in the papers. Even with videotape of using the word 'creationism' the one claimed it had only been a slip of the tongue.
This is not the sort of behavior which should happen from anyone in our country and it is certainly not what we should expect of those who call themselves Christian. Lies will not bring the realm of God close at hand. They will send the people who use them, even if they use them in the name of the one the claim to served, to hell.
A Christmas Letter
This is to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I’ve continued to work at themotel as the front desk manager. This isn’t without it’s challenges as I’m consistently hiring people for their first or second job and introducing them to the pleasures of getting to work on time and becoming professionals. I am so thankful for parents who looked me up and down to see if I was dressed appropriately before going out to look for a job.
I am still looking for a job in the church. I do find it frustrating to get so far and then have the conversation go silent when I mention my sexual orientation. While some have suggested that I shouldn’t let the congregations I’m talking with know that I’m gay, I believe it is important for all of us to be aware of possible conflicts. That I am chaste and faithful seems to be beside the point for many of the places with whom I’ve had conversation. I do see myself as continuing in ministry if only by providing an example of a homosexual that is different from so much of the media exploitation of the more vivid examples of homosexuality.
I have started up my very own blog this year at latifundiaetal.blogspot.com. This is providing a wonderful outlet for the sermons and meditations that I’ve continued writing even though I am without a pulpit. I have enjoyed returning to the discipline of regular writing that I missed since I’ve been without the pulpit. While I’ve continued with regular reading of scripture, it is also good to return to thinking and writing down my thoughts and observations. I try to post something there daily.
Again best wishes for Christmas and through the New Year.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
That will probably never happen in my case. But I had a customer last night who spelled his name for me. I said something along the lines, 'Could you give me a minute and let me get back to your name' and he spelled his name again. And I asked, 'please give me a minute before you give me the spelling' and I heard the letters again. It was a perfectly good name of german origin - and one of my grandparents is a german immigrant - and because he kept spelling the name for me I couldn't get the word in my head and without the word sound I couldn't find the word on the screen. My abilities inmusic mean that I see sounds and hear letters words in musical patterns. Each letter for me is also another sort of sound/movement. And when I don't have the word in my head - spelling it leaves the letters in a jumble.
Some of the people who don't have sight with their eyes tell me of people who grab their arm and say 'let me help you across the street' That arm grab is likely to startle the other so that they fall rather than to help them and they may be pausing to figure out what they're doing next rather than waiting to cross the street.
When we help - or try to help - we need to take into account what the other is actually asking for. Sometimes it's not what we think they want. And certainly there are times when our suggestion may be better than what they ask for. But if we don't pay attention to their request we are no better than a dictator. So for all those people out there that seem to need help. Helpers, please listen, ask, offer instead of immediately jumping in. The person who has different abilities will appreciate that offer a whole lot more than when you impose your idea of what they need upon them.
Ex-gay watch has an article analyzing what's happening with one of those instances where a movement is using personal testimonies to 'prove' their case. Statements of conversion - that's the false argument examined at their site. But this happens on many issues.
One of the examples of this use of personal testimony to produce a false arguement ahppened with a friend of my father's Dad was helped by massage, it relaxed him. There are some clear benefits. But his masseuse believed that what she had was 'healing touch'. And that it actually cured people. Our relationship became problematic after she mentioned that she was writing a scientific paper on the subject. My brother, who was the caregiver, asked a couple of questions. Are you doing a control group? What evidence do you have? Have you considered doing a double blind study? And what the response were indicated that all the evidence she had was anecdotal on the 'this has really helped me' sort.
Anyone who's taken debate or logic or similar courses knows that there are a number of false arguements. Anecdotes or personal example can help figure out where to look for facts and evidence, but is not in itself evidence that what seems to be correlated is actualy causation. Or, as many of us were taught, correlation does not equal causation though there is rarely caussation without correlation.
Having experienced a change is not evidence that a change has happened related to what you believe caused the change. healing touch may just be the presence of something that is helpful and/or an illusion based on a need to believe that something/someone is doing what helps. But reports and testimonies of change are no more believeable in helaing touch than they are in the ex-gay movement. Proof of change requires more stringent research than just saying 'it happened, it happened.'
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Just like life.
"God lives on the lips of believers...and nowhere else. When are believers
going to realize that if we all decided to stop speaking for God, he would be
unable to speak for himself?"
from the site fundies say the darndest things.
And in this case display the writer displays an ignorance of scripture and lack of trust in God. God is perfectly able to speak whether or not a human makes an utterance. In my particular tradition the words - effective calling - is but one of the doctrines that speak to whether God can speak without our help. And then the scripture reference that comes to mind is that of Jesus telling the disciples that if the people were silent the very stones would cry out - in more than one gospel.
And, while there may be a bit of attack in talking about this quote, it is still important to make sure that we let God be God and acknowledge that God is able to do all things. When foolish statements are made, such as this one that says God needs us to work, we need to recall that while God asks us to work, to serve, to worship, yet God does not need us to proclaim the good news.
The first was a letter from Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)suggesting that theelection of a Muslim was a bad thing - we should keep watch on the bordersor more of this will happen
The second was an attack on two men because they were holding hands. Thewere attacked as they came out of a restaurant.
For me these are both symptoms of the same thing - a lack of tolerance for those who are different. And certainly there are some gays and muslims who are very intolerant - I just didn't see stories about them this morning. And the question for me is what are we called to do. I see in scriptures a man who welcomed sinners, ate with prostitutes and tax collectors, who preached about religious leaders and rich people of the day putting burdens on the backs of the poor. And I wonder who can call themselves Christian and attack people for holding hands or write that another faith than their own is a threat to a nation in which both are citizens.
Where is the call to avoid the denunciations that lead to these acts?
Where are the calls to treat each other respectfully and civilly?
What I see too often are leaking blivots who say 'but we never meant that to happen from our words. yes we called them this and that but we never meant for that to happen, no we never meant our words to be taken that far' And this is not a new thing - read a little history and we'll see more than one instance where demagogues wanted to take it too far and further for theirown power - yet it should trouble us whenever and wherever it happens.
I wish I had a permanent solution, but I suspect as long as people are people we will have those cries of hatred and fear and those who aredifferent will be persecuted.
Truth Wins Out has many articles on this and is spearheading the contact of scientists and researchers whom Dobson has misquoted, misstated and misused their research.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I became a Certified Pool Operator and learned that the human body loses one pint of body fluid for every fifteen minutes in a body of water that’s 100 degrees.
So I don’t use public spas. I don’t know how long it has been since the water was changed.
I work to maintain our spa and pool. Today for the first time in about two weeks the spa was clear when I came to do the maintenance. I don’t know for sure, but I can make a guess. For the last two weeks I’ve had a group of workers come in and use the spa about 6pm, it’s always within a fifteen minutes of getting back from work. And when they come down to the pool area they all have dry hair. My guess and, I suspect yours as well, is that they weren’t showering before going into the pool and spa.
So no longer does my dream house include a pool and a spa. The maintenance is daily, the expense is horrendous, the abuse by people is ongoing and I could go on. I think I’ll just retire to a place that has a nearby river or pond and just take a dip there when I get the urge to swim.
Mr Jangles, BBC News
“Female circumcision isn’t barbaric” I keep wondering in what world these people live. While it is certainly true that no cause is so pure that it can’t attract an idiot to spout off in support, it is also true that there are some things that are just wrong. An operation that causes life-long pain and takes away the pleasure of sex is just plain wrong on so many levels.
Family values, as I understand them, are about strengthening through love and caring. And I fail to see anything caring about genital mutilation. And if women are such that you can’t trust them to stay faithful, then it might be better not to marry that particular woman rather than to trust that some torturous operation would prevent them from straying. The idea that some sort of pain-inducing operation will keep women pure is simply ridiculous. Genital mutilation attempts to protect a man at the expense of a woman.
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods,
I should be glad of another death.
T. S. eliot
Luke 16:10-17 begins with the statement about the small things reflecting the large. And it could easily have gone the direction of so you must tithe the mind, the dill and the other small things, but instead goes to the whole question of how we use our riches and our gifts. It is not about being persnickety, but about whom we serve.
I serve a God who claims to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. And following a God who makes that claim means that we should seek to be truthful and faithful. And so being faithful in the small things indicates where we will be in the large. And so working to be honest about the things where the truth won't harm anyone and only inconvenience us is about following the one who says he is the Truth. And the little things reflect our services both large and small to the one we claim to worship.
The question we should be asking ourselves in reading the story is not really about other people and their faithfulness. The turn in this story is when we realize that we can be just like the Pharisees and love money and ridicule the truth. And are we the religious leaders who heap heavy burdens on the back of others – heavy burdens that we ourselves cannot bear? Or are we the followers of Jesus who hear and do the word of God?
Luke 16:10-17 (18)
 "Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?  No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him.  So he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.
 "The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force.  But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one stroke of a letter in the law to be dropped.
 "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
But deciding about wealth is not unimportant; it's just not the most important thing. Or, perhaps, it is better to say we should decide that wealth is not the most important things in our life. We should choose God over wealth. We should choose to work for the realm of God rather than for property and money.
The question we need to ask is 'where is our heart focused?' For some of us the answer will be prestige. For others the answer will be possessions. Still others will answer – money. And there are as many different answers as there are people. Somehow all of us sooner or later will let our desires for something other than God rule our heart.
But when we let something other than God rule our heart we can look, examine, repent. That is we can change and seek God once again. We can let the distractions fade away and look to serving and enjoying God. An abundance of possessions may or may not pass away before our life ends, but a life lived in the path of God will find completion even without toys with which to play.
 Someone in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.'  But he said to him, Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?  And he said to them, Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.  Then he told them a parable: The land of a rich man produced abundantly.  And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?'  Then he said, I will do this:
I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry."  But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be? '
 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.
 He said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?  If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you -- you of little faith!  And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying.  For it is the nat!
ions of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."
At least it felt like a long time. At this point she wasn't sure how long. She vaguely remembered happy times. But it was as if those happy times were through ten feet of cotton candy and her life now. She could see herself laughing in some photos, but couldn't figure out what that felt like. Yes, she had been happy, but not in a long, long time.
Her living room and kitchen were immaculate. But that was because she didn't have the energy to leave them messy. When she ate – everything was cleaned and put away before she fell asleep. And she didn't buy any food that might go bad. The dried milk she kept on hand didn't taste all that good when she made it up for the meal – it was supposed to sit – but when she had the energy to eat and clean up she wanted to do it then. If she waited any time her burst of energy would be long gone and then there's be the dishes to clean and they'd sit. She'd done that before when she'd tried to wait. And the dishes would sit with the big round eye of a plate accusing her of not doing anything and her mind quivering with the blows of unmet expectations. And she just couldn't face the unwashed dishes one more time. So she made the dried milk up and drank it before it had cooled and as the horrid taste went down – thought – at least I got something in my body one more time.
And at times it was a moment-by-moment decision to keep on existing in such pain. She'd started treatments but so far none of them had worked. And she lived in pain. And she could no longer remember what it had been like before she lived in pain. And the treatments – try this drug and it will take two to six weeks before it works – you've been taking it for eight weeks and there's no change, then stop taking the drug and in two weeks will try another drug – seemed futile. And every day longer until each day seemed like years.
They called it depression – she called it pain.
And she lived with it.
Today she was curled up in bed. Her book club was at noon, but she hadn't read the book and she wasn't sure she could go because she didn't want people to know that she hadn't read the book. It was six in the morning and the book had arrived. The package was sitting next to her bed. But she'd only opened it enough to see the spine and then had let it lie there, accusing her, saying she should just reach out and begin reading it, letting her know how worthless she was since she couldn't reach over there. Instead she tossed and turned and even when she wasn't looking at the book the thought of it ate at her, the acid of not getting it done rising up in her throat and burning so that she couldn't sleep, but couldn't pick up the book.
And she thought – I could call Angie, but I've already made too many excuses for not reading the books. And I've called her too many times. And if I keep calling her she might not want to hear from me again. And I don't want her to see me like this. And maybe I just won't go, but I've missed too many meetings already. And it's too early to call her, but I've missed too many meetings, or I've been to them and not read the book and I just can't do it, but I don't want to miss the meeting and the book is sitting right over there so if I start reading now I could at least pretend to know what the book is saying, but I can't concentrate enough to read and besides my comments aren't as good as those of the other people and can't be since I haven't read the book and the books been sitting there for two weeks but I just haven't had the energy, but I'm perfectly fine so I should have read the book and then I wouldn't have to call Angie and cancel but I still haven't cancelled so!
I could go but then I'd be unprepared and everyone would see what a mess I am.
And it was six-fifteen in the morning and she did not have the energy to get out of bed or to grab the book and yet she was tossing and turning and wondering if she could get out of bed today.
Once upon a time she thought that she would have thought nothing about getting out of bed. And she wondered why it seemed so hard to do, but it did. She was wrapped in a cocoon of frustration and anger and despair and it was torturing her to move and sit up and swing her legs over the bed and she dreaded the day and what would come and what would happen and whether she could actually do something. And she thought, I've got a doctor's appointment today so I don't need to actually go to the book club. I can tell them I'm waiting and they'll understand and then I don't need to read the book, but I do want to read the book and I do want to keep up with things, but how can I keep up with things when I can't concentrate on anything and it takes so much energy and I've been up since 6am and I just can't get out of bed and I used to be able to get out of bed in the morning but it seems like so much work.
Monday, December 18, 2006
And one of the more important statements for my theology is that about the ones who have refused to love the truth. There are many who claim they have the truth and love the truth, but yet don't have the truth in them. And one of the signs of this is shutting people up when they ask questions about the 'proclaimed truth' or 'received truth'.
And whenever one is unable to ask questions or told which questions are proper, then there's good reason to question whether what is being taught is the truth. I've seen this adoration of what is received in many fashions. Whether it is in the distortion of the word objective by saying 'we have the most objective source on the planet since our scripture was written by God and so is from a completely outside source." or "If one thin in the Bible is proved false, then I can't believe any of the Bible and can no longer be a Christian." or a multitude of other formulations that come down to, 'if it isn't the way I think it should be, then I'm going to stop playing and go home.'
The lawless one is not the one who asks questions, but the one who wants things their own way. The lawless one is not the one who wants to discuss the questions, but the one who wants to dictate the answers. The lawless one wants things there very own way.
But seeking the truth and following God is about wanting to give up our own way and searching for where God is guiding. The emptying of self is not to fill with one doctrine, but to open self to hearing the Word of God.
A couple of thousand years after this letter to Thessalonica we still are waiting for the day of the Lord that is already here. We are called to live as though it is in the next minute and ass though it may be another thousand years. Scripture may say we don't know the day or the hour and some groups have used this to proclaim the month or the year. That sense of Scripture is that we are in the now and not yet of waiting. We are in the koinonia, but don't know the chronos.
Many of the people who set themselves up as those to be worshipped, don't necessarily say that's what they're doing. They may not even realize that they're setting themselves up in place of God. But whenever someone says, 'this is the way that God wants us to act and don't question me about it', then they are setting themselves up in place of God. They've forgotten to look to make sure that what they are saying is the truth and set themselves up to be lawless even as they are very stringent in how they act and what they say. But what they say and how they act is not according to God's design. Not when they stop the testing and avoid the questions.
This linking of doubt, questions and faith is nothing new. " It is namely through doubt that we come to engage in research [and] through research that we come upon the truth." comes from -- Abelard, _Sic et Non_, 1349. It's from Scripture and saint that we learn to do God's will. But even the saint can be questioned on scripture and faith as we follow scripture to test the spirit (find passage)
The lawless aren't revealed in wild behavior, but in behavior that does not love the truth. The lawless are revealed as they deceive themselves and others. Dobson of Focus on the Family reveals this sort of lawlessness when he cites the work of others and doesn't admit that those who made those reports believe that he is misusing and falsifying what they say. Carol Gilligan, Kyle Pruett, and Angela Phillips have said that Dobson is misstating their work, yet Dobson continues use the work in ways the authors/ researchers say is wrong. That's the attitude of one who is lawless; who believes that he is worth more than another; the one who believes that his opinion is correct no matter what others think.
And it's not entirely wrong to be willing to stand against the crowd. We who are Christian are called at times to stand against what is popular. But there's a difference between standing up to the crowd and refusing to acknowledge that the researchers of a particular work disagree with you as to what it means. One is righteous and the other is self-righteous. And in this case while Dobson is standing against some people it is also true that he has a great many supporters who buy into what he says and who believe that he is authoritative on these matters.
It's not just enough to say that one stands against popular culture. One must actually do so. Or, rather, one who is of Christ is called to stand not against popular culture but for the truth. And when one stands for the truth one ignores the meanderings of culture or received wisdom or long-held truths. One stands for truth by asking for evidence, for proof, for how the view is supported, for can it be shown. It is not which pundit says it or which religious figure approves, but whether they are willing to listen to questions and admit when they've made a mistake.
Tertullian talks of the rule of faith or regula fidei near the end of the 2nd century. He says: "Provided the essence of the rule is not disturbed, you may seek to discuss as much as you like. You may give full reign to your itching curiosity where any point seems unsettled and ambiguous or dark and obscure." (Tertullian, Prescriptions Against Heretics, in Early Latin Theology, S. L. Greenslade, ed. and trans. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956) 14, p. 40.) This is the way of law. We can examine for truth; we can examine for meaning; we can examine for consequences. We can and should ask questions. The rule of faith in Tertullian and his predecessors is broad and open rather than closed.
As scripture says in 'test the spirit'; Tertullian in 'give full reign to your itching curiosity'; or Abelard in 'engage in research'; we are to engage our minds. Those who say, 'trust my authority' are the lawless of whom we have to be wary. Those who say 'I know better than you' are the ones of whom we should be leery. Those who want to give us the answers rather than help us work out the answers are those we should fear. For those are the answers of rule rather than of law.
And those who want to make rules that can't be questioned are those who ultimately don't follow the law. The law can be studied and understood. Rules and regulations may or may not follow the law, but should be subject to the law. And those who proclaim that they cannot or should not be questioned are makers of rules, rather than followers of the law.
The day of the Lord is in our midst. It is not a day that is met with unquestioning obedience, but one that calls for opening our eyes and unstopping our ears. It is a day that calls for growth in understanding by questioning the received truths of the past in preparing to meet the glories of God.
The rule of faith that Tertullian and other down through the centuries mention is not as simple as the five fundamentals (in either version). It is a compendium of what we've learned from scripture and faith. But it is always regulated by a return to scripture and faith. That is so, even though scripture as in the Greek and Hebrew Testaments wasn't formed until after the idea of regula fidei had been expressed. Yet the rule of faith is an idea to which we need to return.
The Nicene Creed is one example of putting down the rule of faith. It is certainly not the only example, there are prayers and creeds in the Greek and Hebrew Testaments or statements such as this is the first commandment and the second is like to it given in the gospels. We who are Christian (and before us those who were/are Jewish) have set down guides to our faith and struggled with what is the essence for millennia.
And as we've done so there have also been those who would set down their version of what scripture means above all other ideas. Augustine writes in The Literal Meaning of Genesis" even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world…. Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books."
There's a difference between the rule of faith, which speaks of God and is not contradictory to fact, and making rules while telling people not to question those rules. Doubt and questions are not opposed to faith. For faith is belief in what cannot be seen or touched (to paraphrase Hebrews 12:18,19) and for those who want certainty that is something that they cannot stand. Faith that is built on being certain is a frail reed that will break as soon as one part is shown to be in error.
We are to be prepared for the coming of our Lord. We are to work so as to not be taken in by those who deceive and bear false witness. We are to work not just for rules, but also for rules that follow the law of God. And that law comes from truth and openness, not from secrecy and closing off questions.
Martin Luther once said "A theologian is born by living, dying, and being damned ----- by thinking, reading, and speculating." Someone who is willing to risk their life for the sake of curiosity is lawful. Someone who wants to avoid the hard question is lawless. It is the wanting quick and easy solutions that makes the one lawless and the willingness to work to find the truth that makes one lawful.
Or one could also quote Romans "Anything that is not based on faith is sin." (14:23) Faith does not avoid what is disturbing or unruly in the questions and doesn't worry about doubt. Faith can abide in the midst of turmoil and trouble. Faith is willing to go forth without the answers knowing that we are those who pass through what is untouchable and a sounding trumpet or a roaring fire (paraphrase of Hebrew 12:18ff); while the lawless is willing to settle for the dictatorship of quick solutions, no questions, and a momentary peace.
The life of faith in the God of Scripture, the God of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebecca, and of Jacob, Leah and Rachel; of saints present, past and future is one where we pack our belongings and go on a journey when we cannot see the end. The coming is at hand and yet far away. The coming is something we long for and find in the scattered moments of God's breaking in and yet unimaginably delayed in coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
 As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters,  not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.  Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.  He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.  Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?  And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the brea!
th of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.  The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders,  and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false,  so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.