Saturday, January 24, 2009
One of the classes that I am taking this quarter is "Epistemology." Many may know what that is immediately, but for those who do not, simply put it is, "how we know what we know." In class we talk about empiricism and the value of experience in forming justified true beliefs, but I want to talk about our personal perspectives and our own understanding of various assertions. Minnesota, like most of the country, is going through another arctic chill that has sent the mercury well below zero. So I have been thinking about how we define cold. This same type of question ruminated in my mind when I lived in Elephant Butte New Mexico many summers ago. So what is cold and what is hot? My friends who live south of the Mason Dixon line cannot even fathom what -25 windchill feels like, yet here I was this morning out running in it and feeling pretty good. On the other hand, there are those who have never experienced 115 degree heat and cannot comprehend what that temperature would feel like. The great thing that I have been pondering over the past couple of weeks is that our understanding of "cold" is able to change depending on our exposure to certain climates. Those living in Hawaii think that 60 degrees requires a sweatshirt, but us Minnesotans are wearing shorts and t-shirts if the thermometer hits 60 in March or April. Our bodies adapt to the temperatures that we are exposed to and change our perspective as we experience extreme temperatures one way or another. Is 15 degrees cold? Absolutely, but does not feel nearly as cold when you have been living with sub-zero temps day after day. This concept has great application in our personal lives and how we understand various sins. The more we are exposed to a compromising situation or activity the more we accept it as normative and worthy of our participation. Our minds ability to centrize various positions and classifications of things that are or are not permissible or acceptable for their participation. What are somethings that we have thought were "bad" or "unacceptable" at one point or another, but as we have been around them more we have loosed the negative classification? Just some thoughts on our perspectives.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Minnesota has been engulfed in winter for months now and we are looking at highs below zero later this week. It does not matter how cold it gets up here, you will always see some "crazy person" out running or riding their bike. The vast majority of people look at these people and mock, scoff, or just shake their heads in disbelief. I know this, because I used to be one of those people. All of this changed two years ago when I became the "crazy person" out running in the deep freeze. My passion for running has not changed over the past two year, but the equipment has. The key to running in the bitter cold, or blistering hot for that matter, is the right gear. I am a frugal person by nature, and struggle paying over $30 for a pair of jeans, but when it comes to running tights I don't even blink at a $60 price tag. I know the value of having the right equipment when you are participating in recreational activities. Sweat pants and sweat shirts will keep you warm out on a winter run, but is the absolute worst thing that you can wear and will end up leaving you frustrated and questioning your commitment to the sport. I learned long ago that paying a little extra for recreational equipment pays off in the long run and will inevitably revolutionize your experience. Whether you are camping, skiing, sailing, running, or canoeing, the wrong equipment can ruin your experience. The next time that you see the "crazy person" out running in the arctic conditions don't judge, just remember that it could be you out there with the right equipment. There is a time and a place to pinch those pennies, it is not when it comes to getting the right gear. So head for the sale rack, wear your jeans a little longer, or give some plasma, but don't go cheap on gear or you will be caught in the rain wishing you hadn't!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
This Christmas Eve I was blessed to be able to attend a midnight service at my in-laws Lutheran church in Apple Valley. Attending church at 11:00 pm is not something that has been a part of my families tradition, but as I found out, is a tradition for many. Worshiping and celebrating to close out Christmas Eve and welcome in Christmas day was a wonderful experience that I would encourage all to try. It was something to be praising our Lord by candlelight on the night of his birth. The portion of the service that was the most moving for me was when the entire congregation partook of communion. As I sat and watched each row proceed up to consume the elements I was taken aback by the reality of communion and what it truly means to partake of the body and blood of Christ. Beyond the theological debate over transubstantiation, the metaphor of taking the life of Christ into one's life is far more powerful than many stop to reflect on. How many of us simply go through the motions when it comes time to participate in the Eucharist? We sit and wait for our turn to dip the bread (wafer) in the wine (juice) and pop it into our mouth before heading back to our seats and decide what we are going to have for lunch. I know that I have been guilty of this exact thing, however, this Christmas Eve it all changed for me. I need to be living a communal life where I am partaking of the life of Christ each and every day. We are instructed to take up the cross and follow Christ. Communion is an extension of that act. The participation in the communion table needs to be examined far more than it currently is. It is not some ritual act that one does to obtain a portion of the grace that abounds in Christ. In this new year may you meditate on what it truly means to consume Christ. To live Christ. To have Christ live in and through you. As a Lutheran leaning Baptist I know that I have not given communion the proper place in my spiritual life, but I want that to change. This is the cry of my heart for 2009 and I would love to hear others thoughts.