take three

I came home today and noticed that there was a road crew repairing a portion of the road outside our apartment. It really isn’t anything all that special. In fact, that is actually what made me take a second look at it. This is the third time in the six months we have lived here that they have torn up and repaved this exact same little patch of road. What is it about this particular stretch of road that makes it a problem? Why have they decided that of all the spots that might need repaired this one is deserving of attention? Why hasn’t the problem been fixed on one of the previous attempts? I’m sure I’ll never know the answer to these questions. But aren’t there these same sort of areas in other parts of life? Things we want to do and try to do and just never are able to really stick with. Or things we say we won’t do and then we end up back in it again. Those little trouble spots that just seem in need of constant attention.

Just a little observation taken from the road today.

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Wednesday 2.22.12

How to Boost Your Reading Comprehension – Do you find you have more to read than you can ever possibly finish? Do you actually take time to chew on what you read? There is a certain amount of value of being able to read and understand lots but it is easy to get lost in the flood and never profit from all you read. This article has some good tips for managing your reading work flow.

Five Thoughts on Vocation – A few brief thoughts on what the theology of vocation is and why it is so important that we see not just the “spiritual” acts of our life but all of life as before the face of God.

Finally, the theology of vocation is fundamentally about who we are created to be – both as human beings in general, and as specific creatures.

Review: Islam Without Extremes – a good overview of a book I’m really excited about Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty that summarizes some of its main arguments and shows why the book is valuable.

I honestly think it is one of the most important books of 2011; if you have any serious interest in Islam and its future, do make sure you read this.

Secularism: Its Content and Context – this is a pretty heavy article but makes some really interesting and strong points about what secularism should be and how it should be argued for. He, in a very interesting way, argues against relativism in a way that I really resonated with. While there are some areas of disagreement with the author I really liked the piece overall. (I’d recommend reading the full article, though a heavy 35 pages) because this excerpt just gets started on the good stuff!)

Far-Sightedness↑

I was trying to think of a good way to express exactly what I’m thinking. I don’t think far-sightedness is the exact term, but it will work.

Do you ever get to those situations where you just don’t know what to do? You are looking at the situation from every vantage point you can imagine. You are considering all the angles. Yet you still just can’t quite seem to make sense of what is going on. You know something is missing but just don’t quite know what it is.

Ever been there?

Then someone comes along who happens to be in a different situation and without even really trying they are able to look at the situation with a “far-sightedness” that you just didn’t have. As much as you tried to remove yourself from the particular situation and consider it objectively you could not get there, and then someone else comes along and makes it all seem so simple.

There is something about “far-sightedness” – being removed from the situation – that gives perspective that you just can’t get from close up. Certainly there are details and circumstances that can’t be seen from far away. There are elements of a situation that no one knows unless they are there. But it still can be extremely refreshing when someone comes in with fresh eyes and offers you some “far-sightedness” that helps to make sense of things you just couldn’t see.

Ever been there? Oh? Yeah, me neither.

 

The Unexamined Life↑

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I have a few book reviews coming shortly. But wanted to just share a quick thought I had today while listening to a podcast.

The speaker was talking about the problem of pleasure. We often consider the problem of pain. When life goes wrong people tend to question the justness or the fairness. If they have a belief in God perhaps they wonder about his character. If they are considering God perhaps at this point they blame him or reject him because pain is hard. We can all resonate to this challenge in some way, I think.

What about the problem of pleasure?

The speaker borrowed an illustration from a book that I’ve heard often referenced that unfortunately I haven’t read yet (and refers to two others that I also want to read!). In the introduction to Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman contrasts the conceptions that two authors had of the future. On the one hand is George Orwell’s 1984and on the author is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In the one life is so restricted that people are unable to think. In the other people are so saturated with distractions they are unable to think. The illustration is further developed and showed how easily the enjoyable can detract from the meaningful.

This is a problem I face myself – often. It is easy to get caught up in the endless pursuit of…pursuing something anything. Really just chasing distraction – grasping after wind. In this sense it is an unexamined life.

Is that a goal worth chasing?

Cultural Question↑

Something I find very interesting is noticing cultural differences. During the past weeks and months I’ve noticed a trend in the culture where I’m currently living. Perhaps it’s a meaningless trait, but it is an interesting one all the same.

If you can spare just thirty seconds fill out this survey and help me confirm (or disprove) my suspicions. I would greatly appreciate it!